Fast Ferries: Clean Water Transit or More Dirty Diesel?

Ferry Pollution The next generation of commuter and passenger ferries must be at least 10 times cleaner than today's in order to achieve clean water transit. Speeding across waterways, fast ferries spew more dangerous pollutants into the air than either cars or transit buses - four to nine times more per passenger mile. Without use of cleaner fuels and technologies, by 2007, ferry air pollution will grow to 100 to 1,000 times more polluting per passenger mile. While cars and buses have become 97 percent cleaner in recent decades, ferries continue to foul the air with toxic exhaust from dirty diesel engines.


New S.F. Bay Ferry Will Pollute More Than Necessary

Ferry engine will beat current EPA air pollution standards by 20 percent, but far greater emissions cuts were possible

The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District’s Board of Directors approved a recommendation to use engines 20 percent cleaner than required by law, as well as experiment with biodiesel, for its new high-speed ferry. The decision, however, does not reach the high environmental bar set by a regional ferry operator three years ago.

The new ferry engines are required to comply with modest U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Tier 2 engine standards. New California Air Resources Board standards requiring the best available control technology for new ferries do not take effect until 2009 and do not currently apply. According to studies, ferry travel that meets the current EPA standards emits far more pollution than comparable car travel per-person-mile.

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