Diesel Technology Forum Blasts Diesel Emissions Report by Union of Concerned Scientists

The Diesel Technology Forum has criticized the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) release of a diesel emissions report entitled Rolling Smokestacks.

"This is a highly imbalanced report with a selective application of the facts," said Allen Schaeffer, a spokesperson for the Diesel Technology Forum. "For example, comparisons of the emissions of an 80,000-lb commercial diesel truck to a passenger car are irrelevant."

"To our great disappointment, UCS takes a one-sided and selective view," said Schaeffer. "The UCS report makes no serious attempt to discuss the benefits of diesel technology to the environment or the economy. Rather than illustrating scientific review of the many facts surrounding diesel technology, the report appears to compare the worst-case diesel scenario with the best-case scenario for alternative technologies, disregarding the disadvantages these technologies could potentially offer the end-user. Engine manufacturers produce both natural gas and diesel engines, yet natural gas engines make up less than 1% or 2% of all engines purchased each year."

Over the past 30 years, air pollution levels have declined by more than 30% across the United States, while the number of diesel trucks, trains, boats, and equipment has grown dramatically over that time. This has helped fuel a 147% increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), supplying the goods and services to a population that increased by 30%, and contributing to the economic expansion of the past few years.

Manufacturers of diesel engines have their own blueprint for cleaner engines. The fruits of these efforts already are being seen in the 21st Century Truck Initiative, sponsored by the Clinton-Gore administration, including collaboration with the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy. The Partnership for the Next Generation of Vehicles between government and industry is another example of the commitment to clean diesel engines.

Engine manufacturers and fuel refiners have cut emissions of new on-highway engines by reducing fuel sulfur and adopting a range of new technologies. For example, emissions of particulate matter have been reduced by 83% and nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 63% since 1988. NOx will be reduced another 50% by 2004. A rulemaking is underway to achieve another round of diesel emissions reductions to take effect in 2007. While points of view differ about the details of the engine and fuel specifications for the future, a consensus exists among the parties to invest further in both cleaner diesel fuel and engines.

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