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Dirty Diesel Makes a Clean Comeback

Engineering breakthroughs and cleaner fuel give diesel engines a second chance. Photo of Audi A8 Quattro TDI.

Published: 09-Feb-2006

r decades of fouling the air, diesel engines have made truly impressive strides in performance and efficiency, positioning themselves as legitimate competitors to gasoline engines and the American media’s newest darling, hybrids.

Initially pushed into the limelight by General Motors during the 70’s fuel crisis, diesel was touted as a fuel efficient alternative on which America’s automotive liberty lied. But between the eye-watering smog and its gaudy engine note, diesel soon received the cold shoulder from Americans.

Fast track to thirty years later and today’s diesels are none of those things. Thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to require ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) from oil refiners back in 2001, this ultra-clean form of diesel will make its national debut at your local gas station by October of this year.

With ULSD in place, modern diesel vehicles from any of the major automakers (Benz, BMW, GM, Toyota, Honda, Ford) will deliver better performance and equal refinement to their gasoline cousins, and far superior fuel efficiency to hybrids.

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