Much Cleaner Diesel Fuel to Finally Hit Pumps this Weekend

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The arrival of a new kind of diesel fuel might not be terribly breathtaking to most people, but it's being called the biggest development in auto fuel since they took lead out of gasoline. The new diesel has been a long time coming (we mentioned it back in June), in fact the legislation took form under Clinton. But changing the entire diesel refinery industry is a slow thing, especially considering retaliatory lawsuits and a temporary stall by President Bush.The new ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD) will be at most pumps in the country by this Sunday, and will cost $.05 more than the older, sootier stuff. ULSD contains less than 15 parts per million of sulfur, compared to 500 ppm previously. This means 97% less sulfur than is currently allowed. MSNBC quoted a joint statement by the NRDC and Diesel Technology Forum saying, "[c]leaner diesel fuel will immediately cut soot emissions from any diesel vehicle by 10 percent. But when combined with a new generation of engines hitting the road in January, it will enable emission reductions of up to 95 percent." And added that "[a] new 2007 diesel truck will emit just one-sixtieth the soot exhaust of one produced in 1988." The new low sulfur fuel will release fewer emissions, but also allow engine makers to implement more advanced emissions control technologies, which will account for the greatest reduction. Currently, some state like Massachusetts and California don't even allow the sale of new diesel passenger vehicles. The cleaner diesel fuel will open to door to new, efficient diesel cars which will also be candidates for biodiesel. Pictured above, Citroën's C-Métisse diesel hybrid concept car. :: MSNBC and The New York Times

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