The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

New Report on Air Quality Improvements Highlights Diesel Technology

December 21, 2004

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, issued the following statement in response to the release on December 14 of a report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) citing decreased levels of fine particulates (PM2.5) in our nation´s air."Today´s EPA report (available at provides further evidence that our nation´s air quality continues to take giant leaps forward, and that progress made in clean diesel technology has played a significant role in this improvement. "From 1990-2002, PM2.5 emissions from various categories of diesel engines show a path of continuous improvement: PM2.5 emissions from all categories of on-highway diesel vehicles have dropped by 67 percent; off-road diesel engine PM2.5 emissions have dropped by 15 percent; and railroad PM2.5 emissions have declined by 67 percent. Taken together, in 2002 fine particle emissions from all diesel engine categories account for just 5 percent of the nation´s inventory of fine particles. Better engines, cleaner fuels, and advanced emissions control systems have lead to these improvements from diesel technology across the board."Specifically, industry has achieved dramatic emissions reductions since 1996 when EPA first issued engine emissions regulations for off-road diesel engines used in agriculture, construction, mining, public safety, and military operations. In just eight years, some categories of equipment have reduced levels of particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) by more than 80 percent. These improvements will continue as the most recent standards announced in May 2004, when fully implemented, will provide more than a 90-percent reduction in NOx and more than a 95-percent reduction in PM compared to uncontrolled levels."In the on-highway sector, the new diesel engines found in trucks and buses are eight times lower in emissions of NOx and PM than those manufactured in 1990. And the diesel industry is on track and committed to meeting the most aggressive emissions standards ever. By 2007, on-highway diesel engines will produce near-zero emissions thanks to clean fuels and advanced engine technologies that will result in a 90-percent reduction of PM emissions and an 87-percent reduction in NOx from current levels. "While these are impressive accomplishments in reducing particle emissions, the diesel industry is not standing still. In addition to attacking the challenge of still lower emissions for new engines starting in 2007, the industry is also working to reduce emissions from existing diesel engines by working side-by-side with EPA, states, and other stakeholders to advocate for funding and implementation of voluntary diesel retrofit programs as a cost-effective way to help meet clean air standards.”
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