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Cleaner Air in Middle Georgia Anticipated as Clean Diesel Fuel Becomes Widely Available

Release Date: 10/30/2006
Contact Information: Dawn Harris-Young, (404) 562-8421, harris-young.dawn@epa.gov

(Atlanta, Ga. - Oct. 30, 2006) Today, EPA Deputy Regional Administrator Stan Meiburg joined state and local officials in Macon, Ga. to herald the smooth transition to cleaner-burning diesel at service stations in the middle Georgia area. This action was completed before the date (October 15, 2006) by which Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) for use in diesel-powered highway vehicles was required to be made available at retail fuel pumps across the country. Residents of Middle Georgia should begin to notice the cleaner air thanks to the widespread availability of ULSD fuel across the region.

“EPA, in partnership with gasoline refiners, marketers, and local retailers, is delivering cleaner air to Middle Georgia through the widespread availability of Clean Diesel Fuel,” said Meiburg. “By reducing the emissions that cause soot and smog, EPA is improving local air quality and delivering cleaner running engines.”

The recent conversion to cleaner ULSD fuel available to consumers at the pump is the single, most far-reaching environmental and public health achievement since lead was removed from gasoline. It will allow for the use of new pollution control technology in cars, trucks, and buses. The Administration's clean diesel rules are addressing diesel fuels and engines as a single system that will reduce air pollution from these engines by more than 90 percent -- or about 13 million -- of today's trucks and buses. Once fully implemented, ULSD will result in the annual reduction of 2.6 million tons of nitrogen oxides and 110,000 tons of particulate matter.

This new fuel will help to open markets to clean diesel passenger cars, pickup trucks, and delivery vehicles that are 30 percent more efficient than current fleets with similar reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. In addition to the fuel economy and carbon emission benefits, a new fleet of clean diesel vehicles will have lower maintenance costs, longer engine life, and typically lower fuel costs.

On June 1, refiners and fuel importers were required to start producing ULSD, which contains 15 ppm sulfur, down from 500 ppm. The roll-out of clean diesel fuel is smart environmental and fiscal policy. When fully applied, clean diesel fuels and engines will result in more than $70 billion annually in environmental and public health benefits at a fraction of the cost ($4 billion per year). Expanded use of ULSD also will enhance energy security since diesels tend to be more fuel efficient than gasoline engines.

Also, during today’s event, school systems in several counties were commended for their work to improve the environment by reducing the impact of diesel pollution on children’s health. In April of this year, the County Public Schools received a $225,000 EPA grant to retrofit 18 buses in Bibb, Houston, and Monroe counties. This initiative was the first diesel retrofit project on school buses in Georgia outside the metro Atlanta area. The grant, a part of the Agency’s Clean School Bus USA program, was used to fund cleaner fuel usage with biodiesel and install exhaust filters to reduce diesel emissions. In the United States today, biodiesel is typically produced from soybean or rapeseed oil or can be reprocessed from waste cooking oils or animal fats such as waste fish oil. Because it is made of these easily obtainable materials, it is a completely renewable fuel source.

To learn more about EPA's clean diesel programs visit: epa.gov/otaq/diesel

In keeping with its efforts to ensure smooth implementation, EPA is a member of the Clean Diesel Fuel Alliance, a stakeholder group dedicated to providing the public ULSD-related information. More information: http://www.clean-diesel.org