Sure they put horses out to pasture, but lift trucks? As part of a clean-air initiative, Texas is offering cash incentives for companies to retire aging lift trucks and replace them with new low-emission models. The grants are available to Texas businesses of all sizes within 41 counties plagued by air problems.
Right now, about 70 to 80 percent of Texas's estimated 36,000 to 45,000 propane forklifts operate in those 41 counties, reports Texas Railroad Commissioner Charles Matthews. "If just 15 percent of these forklifts were fitted with new fuel systems or new engines, retired early or replaced with new propane forklifts," he says, "Texas could lower smog-forming nitrogen oxide emissions by 7,000 to 12,000 tons." Overall, the incentive program, funded as part of the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan, aims to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides by 0.33 tons per forklift per year, or by 1.6 tons over the remaining five years of the typical older truck's life.
The Texas Railroad Commission recently paid out the first grant of the $1 million program—giving $8,510 to Sarabia's of El Paso, a company with only one lift truck. Sarabia's will use the funds toward the purchase of a new low-emission propane vehicle.