Most of U.S. diesel-fuel supply to be cleaner by next week

Diesel fuel will get a major makeover this weekend, thanks to rules drawn up during the Clinton administration and set to take effect on Sunday. (The Bushies would like to get some credit too, for not quashing the rules, like they did so many other Clinton-era environmental advancements.) Cleaner diesel fuel, with 97 percent less sulfur than current diesel, must now make up 80 percent of U.S. diesel supply for on-road vehicles — and by 2010, it must make up 100 percent. The new fuel formulation will likely cost up to 5 cents a gallon more than diesel now on the market, but will significantly cut down on soot and related emissions, particularly when it’s used in new pollutant-filtering on-road diesel engines that must be sold in the U.S. starting in 2007. Engine makers, automakers, and oil companies that had tried to thwart the rules have now seen the writing on the gas tank and are teaming up with environmental groups and the U.S. EPA to actively promote the changes. It’s amazing what inevitability can do for an industry’s conscience!