Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Cleaner diesel fuel on the way

Leaving the Canadian news aside... the NY Times reported today about the development of a low-sulfur diesel fuel. This new fuel could represent a major advance in reducing smog-forming vehicle emissions and , indirectly, fuel efficiency.

Diesel is a generally a more efficient fuel. Small diesel cars can get over 40 miles per gallon, a level otherwise only achieved by hybrid gasoline-powered cars. The problem is that conventional diesel emits much more smog-forming and pollutants, like sulfur, and particulates. As the article reports, diesel vehicles, despite being vastly outnumbered in the US, produce 43% of the nitrogen oxides and more than two-thirds of the soot from American vehicles. If a cleaner-burning diesel becomes available, not only could it improve air quality, it could lead to development fuel efficient diesel and hybrid-diesel cars.

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