I will be the first to admit that at first glance putting “clean” and “Diesel” in the same product name, made about as much sense to me as trying to make hot ice. Surely there is nothing clean about diesel, right? Diesel is the outdated, dirty, pollutant ridden stuff of eco-nightmares according to popular theory.
The problem is, it’s not. Well, not anymore at least.
There is a lot of misinformation about diesel exhaust floating around out there (pun completely intentional). For instance, in 2012 the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer listed diesel exhaust as a Group 1 (carcinogenic to humans). They fail to mention that the elevation is related to diesel exhaust as related to industrial exposure, and not vehicle emissions. It’s also supposedly based on decade’s old, inconclusive data.
Even the Environmental Protection Agency in the US lists diesel exhaust as a “probable carcinogen”. Apparently they would know, considering in 2012 they were accused of exposing uninformed and low-income test subjects, who were already sick, to diesel exhaust fumes to see if their conditions worsened. For 12 dollars an hour.
I’d be willing to bet they didn’t get better from it.
The real truth is that clean diesel technology has come a very long way in the last 10 years. In 2006 the EPA established the Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) standards. All highway vehicles are required to use diesel with a sulfur content less than 15 parts per million. The previous standard was 500 PPM. By 2010 even locomotives and non-road vehicles (tractors and such) were required to use ULSD. According to the EPA’s own website: “These programs will yield enormous long-term benefits for public health and the environment. By 2030, when the engine fleet has been fully turned over, particulate matter (PM) and nitrous oxides (NOx) will be reduced by 380,000 tons/year and 7 million tons/year, respectively. This will result in annual benefits of over $290 billion, at a cost of approximately $15 billion.”. That is the information from the very government agency that basically condemned the usage of diesel like the puritans condemned witchcraft.
No wonder diesel has a bad reputation.
If the environmental impacts were the only side of the argument, the argument would essentially be over at this point. Unfortunately, as with all compelling conversations, there are more aspects. For instance, at face value, diesel is more expensive. That alone in this country is enough to make it extremely unpopular.
But why is diesel more expensive?