Study says new truck emissions 'dramatically cleaner' than expected

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | 12/13/2013

A multiphase study of diesel emissions has shown new truck engines are much cleaner than expected, emitting less fine particles and other pollutants than they’re required by law.

On Dec. 4, Frederick, Md.-based Diesel Technology Forum announced results of the second phase of a study performed by the Coordinating Research Council in conjunction with the Health Effects Institute. The study’s second phase showed a drop of more than 60 percent in nitrogen dioxide emissions from 2010 model year clean diesel technology as compared with 2007 engines.

The study can be found here.

The study is called the Advanced Collaborative Emissions Study, and is being conducted during five years between multiple parties to study emissions and health effects of new technology diesel engines.

The study’s first phase, completed in 2009, found particulate matter levels from 2007 diesel engines were 99 percent lower than 2004 model year engines.

“These findings underscore just how clean this new generation of fuels, engines and emissions control technology really is, coming in substantially cleaner than required under the EPA and California Air Resources Board standards,” said Diesel Technology Forum Executive Director Allen Schaeffer, according to a news release. “Not only are the 2010 and late model year technology near zero emissions for fine particles, this study confirms that they are also substantially below the EPA/CARB standard for one of the key precursors to ozone formation.”

The Diesel Technology Forum said more than 11 percent of commercial trucks and buses on the road use 2010 or newer clean diesel technology, and more than a third use 2007 and newer technology.

Schaeffer credited engine makers, emissions technology producers, and ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel for the drop in emissions.

“Not only are these heavy-duty trucks and buses lower in emissions for particulates and smog-forming compounds like nitrogen dioxide as reported today, but they must continue to meet these near-zero clean air performance standards for 435,000 miles – almost four times longer than required for passenger cars,” Schaeffer said, according to the release.

“These findings ultimately translate into clean diesel technology delivering significant clean air benefits for local communities.”

The Diesel Technology Forum isn’t the only organization noticing a drop in diesel emissions.

During CARB’s October board meeting, CARB staff members justified the use of added exemptions for California’s Truck and Bus Rule by noting declines in truck emissions that had outlasted the state’s economic downturn.

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