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Diesel Emissions from Trucks and Buses?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has enacted a new rule to make new heavy-duty trucks and buses run cleaner. It's called the 2007 Heavy Duty Diesel Rule. These heavy duty vehicles (including the newest medium duty trucks that are diesel powered) will cut harmful tailpipe emissions by 95 percent. Sulfur in diesel fuel must be lowered to enable modern pollution-control technology to be effective on these trucks and buses. In 2006 EPA required a new lower sulfur diesel fuel-called ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD). This new diesel fuel will be required in the newest trucks and buses just like unleaded gasoline was required in cars which had catalytic converters back in the 1980s. ULSD can also be used in older diesel-powered vehicles without harm just like unleaded gasoline was acceptable in cars without catalytic converters back in the 1980s.

In addition to these changes for highway trucks and buses, EPA has passed rules to reduce emissions from off-road equipment like outboard engines, personal watercraft, and dirt bikes. New cars are also subject to lower emission standards which began to phase-in back in 2004 (called the Tier II rule). The sulfur level in gasoline has been reduced this year to accommodate the newest emission control equipment on all new passenger cars and SUVs. Because both gasoline and diesel are cleaner, and the new vehicles must meet stringent new EPA emission standards, air quality in Florida will improve significantly starting this year, and more so into the future as the fleet turns over.

Once the 2007 Heavy Duty Diesel Rule is fully implemented, 2.6 million tons of smog-causing nitrogen oxide emissions will be reduced nationwide each year. Soot or particulate matter will be reduced by 110,000 tons a year. An estimated 8,300 premature deaths, 5,500 cases of chronic bronchitis and 17,600 cases of acute bronchitis in children will also be prevented annually. It is also estimated to help avoid more than 360,000 asthma attacks and 386,000 cases of respiratory symptoms in asthmatic children every year. In addition, 1.5 million lost work days, 7,100 hospital visits and 2,400 emergency room visits for asthma will be prevented.

Clean Diesel Fuel AllianceExternal Link

Last updated: September 11, 2013

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