Good News Department: New, Clean Diesel Engines Perform Way Better Than Expected


Diesel trucks on the road. Image credit:EHS News

It's a 40-year tradition for USEPA to propose a new industry performance standard, and for laggard industry lobbyists to declare that jobs will be lost, companies destroyed, stockholders screwed, and the American Way Of Life threatened. Visit the federal docket a decade later, read what lobbyists and Think Tanks alledged would happen, versus what actually happened, and time after time, you'd see that things turned out as good or better than expected by USEPA in the cost-benefits analysis. No surprise then to read this news : Environmental Health News reports that New diesel trucks and buses cut soot and smog more than 90%. The more things change, the more the questions stay the same: why does Congress so often listen to the whiners, and give away the farm? And, why does it take a kick in industry's R&D; pants from EPA to get the innovation engines going?

Here's the money quote from EHS:

... tests--conducted by independent researchers funded by a coalition of government and industry-- now show the diesel technologies are working even better than expected. Truck and bus engines are much cleaner than they are required to be under new federal standards, and for many pollutants, the latest models are emitting the same levels as gasoline-powered automobiles, the researchers said.

Fine particulates—the tiny pieces of soot that can lodge in lungs and cause respiratory and heart problems—were 99 percent lower in 2007-model trucks and buses than in 2004 models, and 89 percent lower than the amounts allowable under the EPA’s 2007 standards, according to the study.

Diesel has a serious image problem to overcome, regardless. People remember the stinky school bus they rode on as kids. They vividly recall the rusty dump truck spewing black soot heading up the grade in front of them, and holding traffic back. Who can forget those farty smelling diesels Detroit trotted out during the last oil crisis?

I have no idea how Americans are going to assimilate the idea the new diesels all are made clean.

Maybe, just maybe, if Ford sold a good looking, road-proven diesel passenger car that got furiously great mileage, and cost the same or less than a gasoline engine version, the cultural shift would begin. Is that even possible?

Ford Introduces 63.6 MPG ECOnetic Diesel Fiesta... Only in Europe

Obviously, this is good evidence that government and industry can work together as partners, to meet public health and environmental objectives with improved designs. Three cheers for the teams that made this happen.

More posts on diesel's image problem.
Survey: Are You "Hostile to Diesel"?
Do High Diesel Prices, Or Consumer "Hostilities," Keep 65 Mile-Per .
Should Mileage Standards Be Raised?
Diesel-Hybrid Pickup Coming to U.S.
Ford Re-Opens Cleveland Plant to Build 'EcoBoost' Engines

Tags: Diesel

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