WASHINGTON, D.C. — With less than a month left in the Clinton Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency today announced a plan to combine cleaner diesel fuel and more stringent diesel engine emission requirements for trucks and buses. The plan will take effect in 2007.
“Vehicles will be 95 percent cleaner than today’s trucks and buses,” said EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner. “By addressing diesel fuel and engines together as a single system, this action will produce the clean-air equivalent of eliminating air pollution from 13 million of today’s trucks (and buses.)”
The unprecedented action is the Administration’s first formal acknowledgement of so-called green diesel. Green diesel contains significantly lower amounts of sulphur, a key ingredient of diesel emissions.
Starting in 2006, the rule requires the sulfur content of diesel fuel be lowered to 15 ppm from 500 ppm – a reduction of 97 percent. EPA predicts that once the program is fully implemented it will reduce particulate matter by 90 percent and eliminate more than 2.6 million tons of smog-causing nitrogen oxide emissions.
“These are unprecedented requirements that anticipate unprecedented technological innovation for the diesel industry,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, an industry trade group. “Today’s heavy-duty diesel engines emit only one-eighth the levels of nitrogen oxides and particulates compared to an engine built in 1988. These new requirements come on top of further reductions in nitrogen oxide emissions that will take place in the 2002-2004 time frame,” he said.
Because the diesel industry has an annual output of $85 billion a year to the U.S. economy, these new standards promise a significant impact.
The rule requires advances in catalyst and exhaust filter systems, as well as improved cracking methods by oil refiners.