Join BREATHE LA in calling for an end to diesel fuel now in California!

Why End Diesel?

We’re calling to End Diesel Now.

Our children are growing up breathing dirty air that has the potential to create a lifetime of health problems.

For decades, Southern California has been a world leader in cleaning the air by reducing smog and other pollutants. Our leaders took bold steps to make the environment healthier for all Angelenos. What once was a skyline so polluted that people couldn’t see the mountains that surround the region, is a much cleaner skyline. But our air is still not clean enough

Today, we are at another crossroads. In 2019, the region set a new record for how many days it has violated federal smog standards. One of the key reasons is diesel particulate matter (DPM) pollution from the ever-increasing goods movement and trade sector. DPM is the soot that comes from diesel exhaust of diesel-fueled trucks, trains, ships, planes, buses, construction equipment and other heavy-duty cargo handling equipment.

With up to 55 percent of Southern Californians’ exposure to DPM taking place during the time spent in motor vehicles, diesel is one of the leading barriers to cleaner air. Our children are growing up breathing dirty air that has the potential to create a lifetime of health problems.

That’s why we’re calling to END DIESEL NOW.

Our Health

Diesel affects our health.

Diesel is toxic for our health in countless ways. The largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in California is the transportation sector. Diesel-powered trucks and buses account for only 3 percent of the vehicles on the road, yet they produce 23 percent of the sector’s GHG emissions. In addition, diesel exhaust is a major source of air pollution, black carbon, and DPM.

Diesel exhaust includes more than 40 substances listed as hazardous air pollutants by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB). This can trigger many health problems, including heart disease, lung disease, and asthma.

Asthma rates in Los Angeles have increased dramatically in the last three decades. Children, in particular, are vulnerable to the impact of diesel. In fact, children exposed to high levels of diesel exhaust are five times more likely to have underdeveloped lungs. Asthma is the most prevalent chronic disease among children, affecting 9 percent of children ages 0 to 17, and is the leading cause of children’s visits to hospital emergency rooms.

The highest level of exposure to diesel is experienced by people living near ports, rail yards, and freeways where diesel fuel is used to operate heavy duty trucks, vehicles, and machinery. It is estimated that approximately 70 percent of total known cancer risk related to air toxins in the state of California is attributable to DPM. Moreover, The International Agency for Research on Cancer found evidence that determined diesel engine exhaust is “carcinogenic to humans.”

Issue at the Ports

Cleaning up the San Pedro Bay Port Complex.

In 2006, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles created and approved the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP), which is an air quality plan that aims to reduce port-related air pollution and related health risks. A critical component of the CAAP is advancing the Clean Trucks Program that strives to transition the current drayage truck fleet to near-zero technologies in the near-term and zero-emissions technologies by 2035. A key element of the Clean Trucks Programs is the implementation of a Clean Truck Fund (CTF) Rate. This rate, as proposed in the 2017 CAAP Update, will be charged to beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) – large companies such as Walmart and Amazon – for loaded heavy-duty container trucks to enter or exit the ports’ terminals. The goal of the CTF Rate is to help truckers subsidize the cost of a clean truck.

An economic study was commissioned by the ports to determine the feasibility of a CTF Rate, and the ports have proposed a fee of $10 per twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) on diesel trucks that enter and exit the ports’ terminals. According to the ports’ study, a fee of $10/TEU will only raise $90 million, which is an insufficient amount of money necessary to turn over the fleet of diesel trucks to near-zero and zero-emission technologies. Currently, there are roughly 18,000 trucks that are registered at the Port. Of that 18,000, approximately 8,000 are pre-2010 diesel trucks that will be banned by state law on January 1, 2023. The Port has a chance to convert 45 percent of the drayage fleet to near-zero and zero-emission technologies ahead of the 2023 deadline, but by instituting a CTF Rate of $10/TEU, the Port is not serious about achieving their CAAP goals.


Who’s calling the shots?

We encourage you to contact the elected and appointed officials that have jurisdiction over the Ports.  Many policies that the San Pedro Bay Port Complex considers must be approved by the Board of Harbor Commissioners.  The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners is appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti while the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners is appointed by Mayor Robert Garcia.  Members of the community are encouraged to attend public meetings hosted by the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and Port of Long Beach (POLB) to share thoughts and opinions regarding the CTF Rate, truck registry, and health-related matters as they pertain to the Ports.


California Governor Gavin Newsom stated “a goal of zero diesel pollution by 2030” as a campaign promise.  Elected and appointed officials should strive to meet Governor Newsom’s goals, and organizations like the Ports should put forward ideas and plans that will chart us on a course to accomplish these important benchmarks.


Government agencies including the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) have authority to regulate emissions, including emissions at the Ports.


Elected officials who represent the Ports include the following:


We encourage you to contact your elected officials and share with them your concerns regarding public health at the Ports.

Our Position & Action

BREATHE LA’s position and Call to Action

In order to accomplish goals as set forth in the 2017 CAAP Update and achieve benchmarks as desired by Governor Newsom and Mayor Garcetti, BREATHE LA believes a $70/TEU is the CTF Rate necessary to transition the ports’ current drayage fleet to near-zero and zero-emission technologies. According to the ports’ study, a $70/TEU would not divert a single container of existing volume. It is estimated that a $70/TEU would only divert up to 1.4 percent of future container volume, which will increase every year regardless. A 1.4 percent reduction in future volume is a very small price to pay for the health and wellbeing of our residents. The Ports must demonstrate how they will transition their dirty diesel trucks to the cleanest technologies available. By incorporating a $70/TEU fee on companies like Walmart and Amazon, we can clean up the port and protect our residents.

BREATHE LA cannot fight for our health alone. We need your help. Please join our petition calling on elected and appointed officials to protect the health of our residents now.

1. Implement the Container Truck Fee

The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners should work with the Long Beach Harbor Commission to immediately implement the $10/TEU CTF Rate and begin collecting the funds that will replace diesel trucks with clean trucks.

2. Consider Raising the $10/TEU Container Fee

The Harbor Commissions should consider raising the fee to address the failure to implement the fee for nearly a year during one of the biggest booms at the Ports.  The economic study commissioned by the Ports projected 56 percent growth from 2021 through 2035 even if the CTF Rate were set to $70/TEU, which would raise substantially more money for clean trucks than the $10/TEU.

The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners should work with the Long Beach Harbor Commission to immediately implement the $10/TEU CTF Rate and begin collecting the funds that will replace diesel trucks with clean trucks.

3. Change the Truck Registry Date

The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners should work with the Long Beach Harbor Commission to move up the date prohibiting any more diesel trucks from being added to the Truck Registry to align with the implementation date of the $10/TEU CTF Rate.  This way truck and fleet owners will not be able to replace their pre-2010 diesel trucks with a newer diesel truck and will instead have to pivot to a cleaner trucker.

4. Consider a Commitment to Public Health when Naming Harbor Commissioners

Mayor Garcetti has the authority to appoint individuals to the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners while Mayor Garcia of Long Beach has the authority for the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners.  They should make public health more of a priority when naming individuals to that board.  Public health is often ignored or glossed over, just as it was in the Ports’ economic study regarding a potential fee on cargo containers.

The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners should work with the Long Beach Harbor Commission to immediately implement the $10/TEU CTF Rate and begin collecting the funds that will replace diesel trucks with clean trucks.

5. Emission Reduction Implementation Plan

The Ports should create and adopt a comprehensive zero-emission port implementation plan by the end of 2022 that will guide it toward becoming a zero-emissions port by 2035.  Benchmarks, which are not included in the CAAP or CAAP Update, are important to ensuring the end goals are met.

How you can get involved!

Join BREATHE LA in calling on policymakers to End Diesel Now across California

Reducing emissions from diesel can have an immediate positive impact on air quality and our public health.

Upcoming Meetings

To Be Announced

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Contact public officials to express your concern about the impact diesel has on public health and the need to End Diesel Now.


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