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Diamond Diesel Service, Inc., Auto Repair & Service - Diesel, Oakland, CA

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Back To Diesel Products>Editorial: Diesel upgrades help everyone breath easier

Anyone who’s ever stood on a busy street corner while a truck accelerated past has surely cursed the day Rudolf Diesel invented his engine.

Despite diesel’s many advantages as an engine technology, it can be sooty and ugly for anyone who might need to breathe in a truck or bus’s vicinity.

But diesel engines can also be cleaned up dramatically — indeed, they already have been. And the north state’s air will enjoy the benefits.

In a report last week to the Redding Area Bus Authority board, city transportation planners outlined the truly astonishing progress made in cleaning up diesel engines just over the past decade, as tighter air-quality regulations and engineering ingenuity drive technological improvements.

The bottom line: The buses that RABA is buying to run in the Redding area this year produce 95 percent fewer oxides of nitrogen, or NOx, the main ingredient in smog. The tailpipes also emit 90 percent less fine dust, which lodges in the lungs and causes asthma. These diesel buses, far from spewing black clouds of soot, run as clean as compressed natural gas — long the benchmark of a low-pollution engine.

The cost of the better technology is not trivial. Redding planner Zach Bonnin, who gave the presentation, said the additional equipment to meet 2010 standards adds $27,000 to the cost of a $350,000 base cost of a RABA bus. For truckers, schools, the construction industry and other heavy users of diesel vehicles and equipment, which are being pushed to phase out or overhaul old engines, the new standards create a substantial financial burden that is all the more difficult to carry in this economy.

But the payoff for our lungs is real, and breathing is something we all share in these political divided times.

© 2010 Record Searchlight. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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