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Green plan causes air pollution, may kill thousands in the UK, thanks to dirty diesel

A Greenpeace Bio-diesel Campaign, November 2000

Golly — who would have thought that policies based on a logical fallacy and a pseudo-religion would be a bad idea? It’s not just bad, it’s deadly. For the last ten years environmentalists and greens told Europeans to buy diesel cars, not petrol, because they produce less CO2. So British people, and a lot of Europe too, did exactly that — lured by generous tax breaks, pushed by the guilt trip if they were thinking of buying a petrol car. The car fleet of the EU was transformed. Back in the early nineties, hardly anyone owned a diesel, but now, as many as half of all new cars in the UK are diesel, and some extra 45 million diesel cars have been bought across Europe. But clean energy turned out to be dirty fuel, with diesels producing tons of small dangerous particulates, black carbon, and other real pollutants.

It’s so bad, the UK is not meeting air pollution standards, and more importantly, by at least one estimate, some 7,000 deaths a year can be attributed to diesel pollution from cars.

Diesel pollution is becoming such an issue in London that Boris Johnson is thinking of charging diesel drivers an extra £10 to drive in London – “a measure that could be copied by as many as 18 other cities. “ A debacle all the way down.

h/t to Colin who helped research the story too. As he describes it, it’s the deadly fruits of greenery.

Telegraph– “Diesel car drivers ‘betrayed’ as EU cracks down on Britain over air pollution”

“For more than a decade, motorists buying diesel cars have enjoyed tax breaks because the cars produce lower levels of carbon dioxide and are more fuel efficient.

Now, Britain is being sued by the European Commission for breaching air pollution limits, because emissions from diesel vehicles are contributing to tens of thousands of premature deaths each year.”

Diesel drivers may feel a bit betrayed, and the guilt trip gets inverted:

Edmund King, the president of the AA, said: “Some drivers will feel betrayed and misled because they were encouraged to go for the dash for diesel. “In the 1990s there was a near hysteria about carbon dioxide, and yet nobody looked at the bigger picture. “The drivers thought they were doing the right thing, but now they are being told that it has serious health implications. They are being made to feel guilty for something that they were encouraged to do.

The UK government taxed petrol driven cars more from 2001, which meant the public shifted to buying the more polluting diesel cars instead. A third of the British fleet is diesel now!

In 2001, Gordon Brown, the then chancellor, overhauled vehicle excise duty so that cars that emitted a higher level of carbon dioxide faced a higher level of vehicle excise duty. Labour introduced the new regime despite official warnings that diesel vehicles emit “10 times the fine particles and up to twice the nitrogen dioxide”. The move prompted a “profound” shift towards diesel cars, which produce lower levels of carbon dioxide because they are about 20 per cent more efficient than petrol engines. Over the past decade, the number of diesel cars on Britain’s roads has risen from 1.6 million to more than 11 million and accounts for a third of vehicles. The latest government statistics show that in 2011, the nation’s 28.5 million cars emitted 150,000 tons of nitrogen oxides, but a further 97,000 tons were given off by just 400,000 HGVs.

Between 7,000 to 13,000 deaths each year in the UK attributed to diesel:

Prof Frank Kelly estimates diesel causes about 7,000 deaths in the UK each year:

Diesel engines in buses, vans, cars and trains may be responsible for thousands of premature deaths a year and cost the NHS billions of pounds, say air pollution health experts. With government figures for 2008 showing 29,000 people dying prematurely from air pollution each year, diesel fuel burned in vehicles could be responsible for around one in four of all air pollution deaths, said Frank Kelly, professor of environmental health at King’s College, London. -- The Guardian

But Barrett and Yim estimated  in 2012 that diesel emissions from cars, planes and power plants contributed to “an estimated 13,000 premature deaths annually in the United Kingdom.”

We find that UK combustion emissions cause 13,000 premature deaths in the UK per year, while an additional 6000 deaths in the UK are caused by non-UK European Union (EU) combustion emissions. The leading domestic contributor is transport, which causes 7500 early deaths per year, while power generation and industrial emissions result in 2500 and 830 early deaths per year, respectively. We estimate the uncertainty in premature mortality calculations at −80% to +50%, where results have been corrected by a low modeling bias of 28%. The total monetized life loss in the UK is estimated at £6–62bn/year or 0.4–3.5% of gross domestic product.

The second estimate might be higher because it includes planes and power plants, not just cars. For perspective, 29,000 deaths from air pollution is 5% of all annual deaths in the UK.

UPDATE:  JunkScience has done a lot of work looking at PM2.5 which is interesting and claims the EPA are wildly exaggerating. (They’ve done that before). Be aware  PM2.5 is a size, not a chemical, so blanket claims should be treated with some skepticism. Indoor, or woodland PM2.5s will be a different chemical composition. And diesel itself is a lot more than just PM2.5 – there are mixed oxides  of nitrogen and sulphur and a range of compounds:

Petroleum-derived diesel is composed of about 75% saturated hydrocarbons (primarily paraffins including n, iso, and cycloparaffins), and 25% aromatic hydrocarbons (including naphthalenes and alkylbenzenes).[51] The average chemical formula for common diesel fuel is C12H23, ranging approximately from C10H20 to C15H28.

What comes off in the exhaust depends on how hot and efficient the car engine is and a whole lot of other factors.

Many studies show people suffer higher morbidity and mortality for people who live near large roads. These are epidemiological and only associations, so weak, but they might be real. Though problems with living near traffic could be diesel, petrol, road noise,  back carbon or all of the above.

The transformation of the UK car fleet

Environmentalists really did encourage people to buy diesel cars. And with the help of government funded propaganda and taxes, they managed to shift the whole market. Only 7% of the UK car fleet was diesel in 1994, by 2012 it was 32%.

The proportion of the licensed car fleet that is made up of diesel and alternative fuel vehicles has continued to grow, between them accounting for almost exactly one third of the car fleet by the end of 2012. Most of these (almost 9.4 million) were diesel cars, accounting for nearly 32.7 per cent of all licensed cars, up from only 7.4 per cent in 1994. – UK Government report Vehicle Licensing Statistics: 2012

Diesels are so popular that in 2012 in the UK they reached parity — half of all new car sales were diesel cars. Diesels  aren’t very popular in Japan or the US. The reason that diesels are popular in the EU and UK (just in case anyone is in doubt) is because they are lower in emissions, and attract tax benefits in the UK…

As diesels hit parity, even as recently as 19 April 2012, the Independent was still saying it was because it was greener and tax efficient, and predicting diesel market share would grow even more:

The increase in diesel sales is expected to continue to rise as road users become more conscious of the impact their driving has on the environment. Diesel cars commonly have lower emissions than petrol vehicles, with a surprising number of diesel vehicles now fitting into the lower tax band. A number of diesel hybrids are also exempt from such fees as the London Congestion Charge.

This means diesel cars combine environmental benefits with financial savings, offering motorists a way to go ‘ green’ without spending too much money. On top of this, insurance premiums will also be affected by the environmental status of your car and that means those with diesel cars should  compare motor insurance quotes to make sure they keep all of their motoring costs to a minimum.

The whole EU soaked in diesel too:

“The resulting technology shift has led to some 45 million extra diesel cars in Europe.”

Diesel car penetration in major world markets. Expressed as percentages, either annual new car registrations or annual entire car fleet composition. Data sources: EU registration data [5,13]; data 1990 to 1993 (Western Europe, including Iceland, Norway, Switzerland); data 1994 to 2011 (EU-15); EU fleet data for 2006, 2008 and 2010 (ACEA, http://www.acea.be); EU fleet data 1990 to 2005 [14]; Japan fleet data [15]; US registration data 2000 to 2011 ( [16], data extrapolated back to 1990).

Source graph: Cames and Helmers 2013

But 45 million extra diesel cars must have changed the climate right? Maybe not. Indeed, they may not have even reduced the greenhouse “radiative effect” let alone changed the actual weather.

According to Cames and Helmers, the older pre-2003 diesels emit less CO2, but they emit more black carbon and the “radiative” effect is probably negative overall (though new diesels are cleaner):

“…the CO2 emission advantage of diesel cars as compared to petrol cars between 1995 and 2003 based on standardized measurements mounts up to 12.8 g km−1 (range: 8 to 17.1) (Figure  4). However, when taking account of black carbon emissions, the picture changes: diesel cars were allowed to emit up to 50 mg PM km−1 prior to 2005 (Euro 3). Average black carbon contained in the emitted PM of a diesel car registered between 1995 and 2003 has an excess radiative effect equivalent to 37.9 g CO2 km−1 relative to a petrol-fuelled car.”

“We therefore estimate the aggregate climate effect of the general European powertrain switch from petrol to diesel to be negative accordingly, mainly due to the strong radiation effect of large numbers of diesel cars without particulate filter registered in Europe after 1995.”

Doubly pointless, then dangerous to boot?

A couple of weeks ago the BBC reported that the UK was failing to meet  EU air quality standards, and in order to solve a problem created by big-government, we apparently need bigger government. After enticing people to buy diesel, the answer (at least two weeks ago) was to consider banning diesel! I suspect this drastic idea was dropped.

Judges at the European Court of Justice are to consider what is to be done about the UK failure to meet EU standards for air quality… Roger Harrabin on the BBC Today show: “…air pollution is said to cause the premature death of 29,000 people each year in the UK”.   In an attempt to cut greenhouse gas emissions it strongly encouraged the purchase of diesel cars. But these create more local pollution and this affects people’s health. The government expected European standards to drive down the pollution from new cars, but the car manufacturers got the rules watered down. The government said in the circumstances it can’t reasonably be expected to reach the targets until 2030. The court will rule whether more drastic measures need be taken, like banning all diesel cars…

Did Roger Harrabin of the BBC ask any hard questions about diesel health risks back when it would have been useful to ask them? How many lives exactly did the science unit at the BBC save with good science communication?

Image: The Greenpeace Bio-diesel page

Thanks especially to Colin in the UK for help, and Richard in Tas for the tip too.

 

REFERENCES

Steve H. L. Yim and Steven R. H. Barrett * (2012) Environ. Sci. Technol., 46 (8), pp 4291–4296  DOI: 10.1021/es2040416 [abstract]

Michel Cames1 and Eckard Helmers2 (2013) Critical evaluation of the European diesel car boom – global comparison, environmental effects and various national strategies, Environmental Sciences Europe 2013, 25:15  doi:10.1186/2190-4715-25-15  [full paper here]

For studies on PM 2.5 (Fine particulates) and their association with cardiovascular disease, and mortality see:

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134 comments to Green plan causes air pollution, may kill thousands in the UK, thanks to dirty diesel

  • #
    TdeF

    There is a false assumption in all this. Diesels are held to be more efficient per litre. I have read figures of 20% to 30%.

    I think a reasonable figure per litre is about 20% per litre but consider that the energy content in Mj/kg is near identical. Higher temperature of combustion in diesel is always more efficient as dictated by physics and that Carnot cycle, but that is only half the story. Petrol is largely isooctane C8H13 while diesel is largely C12H23 and as a heavier long chain hydrocarbon diesel is also denser by 11%, meaning you get the same amount of energy for fewer litres. Sounds good?

    However you could play the reverse game and argue that a litre of diesel produces 11% more CO2 than a litre of petrol, cancelling out half the logic behind switching to diesel. For the same weight of rotted plant matter, long combinations of CH2 elements, you get comparable amounts of energy in Kj/KG from natural gas to petrol to diesel to coal. Simple chemistry. You are burning the same stuff. For example, the only reason lignite/brown coal has such a bad reputation for double CO2/kg is that it is wet and half the energy is used to dry the stuff, doubling the CO2 per kg. If we dried it first, it would be fine, but who wants to hear that? Better to shut the power generator.

    As for taxes, this is a game which also used to be played in reverse, as diesel and LP gas used to be much cheaper and was preferred for trucks and tractors because of the reliability without spark plugs and the low price, despite the increased emissions. However once the Greens started pushing diesel, Governments pushed up taxes with demand, past petrol as it had more energy per litre, which meant increased government revenue. Of course big diesel users complained, so many receive rebates. It has all been a game. The increased pollution was obvious in cold foggy English cities where the stink is incredible, but who could refuse the extra cash? Worse governments were complicit in this game, in turn increasing taxes on petrol for even more revenue while pretending to be concerned about the environment!

    Then you have Australia where for most of the 20th century, we were totally self sufficient in petrol, but paid OPEC prices anyway, allegedly to stop us wasting a precious resource. No one seemed to care up to 90% of the money went to the government. So it has always been about the money, not the environment. Now we get to undo it all, selling a lot of new petrol cars and boosting government revenues again. After housing, cars are the biggest revenue earners for governments around the world and the real driver of Western economies. Cars, tyres, repairs, accidents, registration fees, insurance, road construction, bridges, tunnels, car manufacture, car sales, stamp duties, luxury taxes, parking lots, massive total employment and the total impact of cars on Western economics is immense. Perversely, as the ultimate consumer item, even more than the smart phone, cars make societies and governments rich and a return to petrol may be just what Europe needs to boost their flagging economies. So now we hear that diesel is bad and petrol is good again. What a surprise!


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    • #
      DT

      I used to have one petrol engine vehicle, one petrol with LPG dual fuel system and one diesel with LPG injection system and now I have just one latest technology common rail intercooled turbo diesel. The new one is by far the best of all and the diesel engine meets the EU Standard.

      Based on the trip computer and fuel monitor I average 16 Kilometres per Litre of diesel mostly country town and highway driving. Earlier this year I towed a Caravan from east coast to west coast and return and fuel consumption was mostly 11 Kilometres per Litre. These results are about half of what my old vehicles could achieve.

      I do believe that diesel engines are unsuitable for regular city commuting and traffic, and on modern diesels they need to be driven at 80-100 KMH regularly and for a reasonable distance to clear the particulate filter and if not carried out could end up causing expensive repair bills.

      However, in my opinion Australians should be using liquified gas for fuel as our gas resources are huge. And the latest fully injected LPG systems offer fuel consumption equivalent to petrol, but as usual goverment will insist on increasing fuel tax to recover the revenue losses.


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      • #
        GD

        DT
        You are confusing LPG with LNG.
        LNG is mainly derived from Natural Gas fields which we have a lot of.
        LPG is derived from oil refineries and has the same supply and costings as petrol and diesel.
        They have different properties and require different technical solutions to achieve the same outcome.


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        • #

          Sorry GD, you have it wrong LNG is liquified natural gas. At present we have very little but a number of liquification trains are being built in Gladstone for export to China, South Korea and China. This gas will mainly come from coal seam gas which is mainly methane and the same as natural gas.
          There have been a few trials using LNG and CNG (compressed natural gas) on trucks and buses but these have been a logistical nightmare and an economical failure.
          LPG is liquid petroleum gas of which there were two sources a) petroleum refineries (gases covered from the top of distillation columns after removing petrol) and b) light petroleum fraction stripped from Bass Strait natural gas at the plant near Sale. LPG is mainly propane (C3) and butane (C4) and their isomers. The LPG is for motor vehicles is slightly different from that in the bottles of LPG used for domestic BBQ’s. The former has more butane and the latter more propane. Petrol has up to 10% butane to make for easier starting particularly in colder parts of the country.
          With refineries being closed something like 50% of LPG for motor vehicles is now imported mainly from Singapore but also the middle east.
          In Australia diesel makes much more sense then petrol. One thing is safety. Aborigines do not go smelling diesel and it burns instead of possibly exploding. The diesel cycle if more efficient than the Otto petrol cycle. Diesel engines last longer. Big truck engines have been known to go for close to 1 million km. Some diesel engines in ships and used in power generation have lasted over 50 years.
          The reason petrol in Australia was more popular than cars was that Australian Crude was light and had a higher yield of petrol and diesel. The oil companies and the car companies (GMH & Ford) drove the demand in that direction.
          The health claims about diesel are nonsense. Petrol, particularly the leaded version has always been worse for health effects than diesel. Never believe greens who have no scientific knowledge and are liars (often influenced by money coming from oil companies and influential billionaires)


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      • #
        Geoff Sherrington

        DT,
        Could you check your units please? Convention is litres per 100 kilometres. Also shorthand, KPH is not official. (The scientist in me refuses to die.)


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    • #
      OriginalSteve

      Anytime someone from a green group or govt says “this is a good idea” its proven to be time and time again – not.

      I’ve alwatys hated diesels – I am bemused by people who buy luxury cars then stick dirty tractor engines in them – I can never fathom that……

      Maybe now people will seriously start developing hydrogen as a practical solution. Yes I know its expensivem, but like anything, as the usage goes up, costs come down.

      All it takes is a country with sufficient backbone to go do it.


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      • #
        DT

        Dirty tractor engine diesels are from the past, old technology OriginalSteve, my SUV AWD diesel engine is quiet and you have to listen carefully to realise that it is a diesel. Riding in it is the same, no obvious diesel noise.

        My previous diesel was acceptably quiet but the new one is much quieter.


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        • #
          Leigh

          What type of car?

          I have never seen any diesel, whether that be Audi A8 or Golf TDi that I can’t spot as an oil burner.


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          • #
            OriginalSteve

            Yep…as they take off from the lights, you get this big black fart where they once stood…..

            Tractors….

            I recall once in the UK hearing the clatter of a clanky old diesel outside the window…I thought maybe it was Tesco home shop come to deliver…nope….it wa s amodern Ford Fiesta…..

            rattle rattle…..


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          • #
            Jo Fankhauser

            Why do you need to “spot” an oil burner. I don’t particularly like driving directly behind a petrol engined car with buggered rings….

            My straight 6 3.0l BMW X3 twin-turbodiesel on the other handis a real gentleman (does not fart)

            Just love the grunt that the 550 Nm provides. Dont forget the 257 horses either.

            Consumption? 6,8 l/100km (42 mpg) – not bad considering my other straight 6 (204 hp / 300 Nm) petrol engined Z4 only gives me 8.5 l/100km

            We’ve all been conned into discussing diesel vs petrol, losing sight of the big picture, which is “big government” looking at alternative sources to replace the CO2 taxes which soon will be redundant.

            An NO2 tax anyone? I won’t bet against it.

            Jo in Switzerland


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        • #
          Streetcred

          I had a BMW X6 loan car a while ago whilst my coupe was in for service … indeed, diesel has come a long way, BUT, I always felt that I was driving around with a truck engine.

          And, what about diesel particulate pollution … PM2.5 … which the US EPA says is so deadly, so much so that they pay human guinea pigs to resperate the stuff to ‘prove’ their point … it was a failure. Still, nothing worse than getting a belch of diesel fumes from a bus or truck and the lights!


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      • #
        sophocles

        Hydrogen?

        Why do you think we burn hydrocarbons for energy? Hydrocarbon chains carry hydrogen in much greater density than if we used pure hydrogen on its own. That’s why use them. Hydrocarbon fuels are available for us to use without having to manufacture them. Refine them, yes, but that is much less expensive. They are much much safer and far more convenient to store and transport.

        To use pure hydrogen, it has to be manufactured, requiring more energy input than can be gained from its use, such as combustion. That’s not cost effective. To add to its expense, once produced it’s darned slippery stuff, which makes it darned dangerous to store and transport in pure form. “Polluting” it with carbon is much much safer and far more convenient.


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        • #
          OriginalSteve

          I guess it depends on how bad you want it…..

          Yes petrol no doubt is denser in energy, but considering you could power a small town for quite a whiekl with an olympic sized pool of normal water, I am sort of dismayed people havent risen to the challenge. Just as LED tech has made leaps forward, I suspect if we *truly* wanted to, we could make steps forward in safe storage, namely crystal lattice type storage.

          I think the challenge is in moving on from pulling stiff rom the gorund, to using whats plentifula round us. I doubt the yanks would have got to the moon if they’d just decided to sit on their lard and let the ruskies do all the hard work first….


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          • #
            sophocles

            You seem to miss my point. To exaggerate slightly:

            - to bust water into sufficient H2 and O to power a small town would use as much energy to power two small towns.

            It is uneconomical, with insufficient (negative) payback, therefore too inefficient, and not sensible.

            Which is why we have not gone to pure hydrogen for GP fuels.


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          • #
            sophocles

            I suspect if we *truly* wanted to, we could make steps forward in safe storage, namely crystal lattice type storage.

            Developing or trying to develop hydrogen fuel cells suggests we really do want to. Recent research into hydrogen fuel cells has banged its head against hydrogen’s slipperiness in this very area for years. I’ve read dozens and seen hundreds of papers investigating (rates of) hydrogen diffusion through many types of crystal lattice including many and manifold types of glass. And diffuse it does. Through almost everything.

            With that ability, and given its explosive combustibility in the presence of oxygen, the engineers haven’t gotten very far. You can host hydrogen as a short-term guest, but you can’t hold it captive without tying it to carbon atoms.

            Keep clearly in mind, a hydrogen atom is a proton, with a loosely attached orbiting electron. It’s not at all fussed at leaving that electron behind because it can pick up another one later on, when it has arrived where it wants to go and is ready to do some real damage. A hydrogen molecule is two protons with two loosely captive orbital electrons. Same problem.


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    • #

      Engine design is more important than the actual fuel. I drove a non-turbo DC ute with a more modern V6 petrol equivalent on a cross country trip and the petrol used less fuel.

      While the enthalpy of combustion is similar, the larger diesel molecules break down into a larger number of molecules which , theoretically, should get you better mileage even after accounting for the extra density. Quite a lot has to happen for that energy to get to the wheels, though. Another reason for the better mileage is that the diesels have better torque at low revs, hence the modern petrols that also have good torque at low revs also have good mileage (apart from burning the fuel more efficiently).


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  • #
    Chuck Nolan

    We’re from the government.
    We’re here to help.


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  • #
    MudCrab

    I drive a turbo diesel. I can think of 320Nm of reasons why this is the best car I have ever owned.

    Oh, and Adelaide to Melbourne on less then a tank of fuel doesn’t hurt either :D


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    • #
      Mattb

      exactly…. and lets slag off UK drivers of little hatches but ignore Australia’s fleet of 4WD where the clear fuel of choice is diesel.


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      • #
        bobl

        Mudcrab,

        I am totally with you on this one, my turbo diesel is just great, great fuel efficiency, and just powers on up those mountains. I will not be buying a petrol powered vehicle again, I’m a total convert.


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      • #
        OriginalSteve

        Yeah but in heat and the outback in a proper 4WD I can understand the sense in a diesel and support that idea.

        Around town in buzz boxes…no.

        The praticulate they create is a big enoug issue for me to resist them.

        On matters fuel, I was low on fuel so went to a servo I’d normally not go to for some 98 RON for my turbo suby. 1 km down the road it starts surging and spitting and farting badly. Bad fuel no doubt. Normally when i get Ultimate from BP never had a moments issue.

        I guess one benefit of diesel is throw any filtered sludge in it and it runs.


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    • #
      TimiBoy

      Lol, I drive a V8 Land Cruiser, and about to buy the Bride a diesel Mazda CX-5. To be honest, this whole thing is so damned politicised I couldn’t give a rat’s arse. I’m with you – I use less, so I refuel less, so it’s more convenient, period.


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    • #
      Streetcred

      How big is the tank?


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  • #
    Mattb

    how is it the UK? Europe is full of diesel cars. Full of ‘em. Spain and france are up to 70% http://cleantechnica.com/2013/10/16/diesel-cars-finally-given-axe-europe/


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  • #
    Yonniestone

    Diesel engine common rail direct fuel injection revolutionized the already efficient engine even further, I remember an Australian engineer selling a diesel injection system he invented to the US military around 2000, apparently no one was interested here?


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  • #

    As long as the Green breadheads are making lots of lovely money out of the rest of the population trying to be green, they don’t care if the suckers poison themselves, never mind screwing up the environment.

    http://thepointman.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/the-great-global-warming-con/

    If Gaia didn’t want them sheared, she wouldn’t have made them sheep.

    Pointman


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    • #
      Lionell Griffith

      It is not that the greenies don’t mind poisoning the sheeple, it is their goal. EVERYTHING they demand to be done to make things “better” ends up doing more of the damage they say they are trying to prevent. It is not an accident. They intend to get the results they get. However, you are not supposed to know that.


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  • #
    Roger Clague

    We should be sceptical of claims that diesel flumes kill. They are an anti-fossil fuel scare.
    And especially now because claims that they do are being used to criticise greens. Who sceptics say abuse science.

    http://junksciencecom.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/epa_s-health-claims-for-its-coal-plant-co2-rules-are-false1.pdf


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  • #
    llew Jones

    Have noticed from time to time that it is claimed that diesel fumes are likely to contain carcinogens:

    What expert agencies say

    Several national and international agencies study substances in the environment to determine if they can cause cancer. The American Cancer Society looks to these organizations to evaluate the risks based on evidence from laboratory, animal, and human research studies.

    Some of these expert agencies have classified diesel exhaust as to whether it can cause cancer, based largely on the possible link to lung cancer.

    The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is part of the World Health Organization (WHO). Its major goal is to identify causes of cancer. IARC classifies diesel engine exhaust as “carcinogenic to humans,” based on sufficient evidence that it is linked to an increased risk of lung cancer, as well as limited evidence linking it to an increased risk of bladder cancer.

    The National Toxicology Program (NTP) is formed from parts of several different US government agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The NTP has classified exposure to diesel exhaust particulates as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen,” based on limited evidence from studies in humans and supporting evidence from lab studies.

    The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), an electronic database that contains information on human health effects from exposure to various substances in the environment. The EPA classifies diesel exhaust as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”

    The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is part of the CDC that studies exposures in the workplace. NIOSH has determined that diesel exhaust is a “potential occupational carcinogen.”

    Does diesel exhaust cause any other health problems?

    Diesel exhaust is a major part of outdoor air pollution. Diesel exhaust is believed to play a role in other health problems, such as eye irritation, headache, asthma and other lung diseases, heart disease, and possibly immune system problems.

    http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/pollution/diesel-exhaust


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    • #

      The problem is that diesel has many potentially not-nice compounds, cancer is potentially many different diseases, and with the “right” analysis, nearly everything is a carcinogen. All epidemiological studies are dubious, but sometimes there is not much else to use.

      I’ve added a couple of reviews to the REFERENCE list in the post. (Black carbon appears to be worse than PM2.5s, see Graham in the list at the bottom of the post). Here’s a couple more rather random ones for flavour.

      The Diesel Exhaust in Miners Study looked at 12315 miners for 15 years.

      Standardized mortality ratios for lung cancer (1.26, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.09 to 1.44), esophageal cancer (1.83, 95% CI = 1.16 to 2.75), and pneumoconiosis (12.20, 95% CI = 6.82 to 20.12) were elevated in the complete
      cohort compared with state-based mortality rates, but all-cause, bladder cancer, heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease mortality were not.

      DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djs035

      Living near a major road shortens life “by 2.5 years”. Assuming that that is true, that could be due to many different things, even the effect of noise on sleep. Not necessarily diesel.
      2004 Traffic Air Pollution and Mortality Rate Advancement Periods, American Journal of Epidemiology Volume 160, Issue 2 Pp. 173-177.

      Cox regression was used to model mortality from all natural causes during 1992–2001 in relation to lung function, body mass index, a diagnosis of chronic pulmonary disease, chronic ischemic heart disease, or diabetes mellitus, household income, and residence within 50 m of a major urban road or within 100 m of a highway. Subjects living close to a major road had an increased risk of mortality (relative risk = 1.18, 95% confidence interval: 1.02, 1.38). The mortality rate advancement period associated with residence near a major road was 2.5 years (95% confidence interval: 0.2, 4.8). By comparison, the rate advancement periods attributable to chronic pulmonary disease, chronic ischemic heart disease, and diabetes were 3.4 years, 3.1 years, and 4.4 years, respectively.

      2014 in China:
      http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11356-014-3301-1
      “… several constituents were associated with multiple mortality or morbidity categories, especially on respiratory health.”
      ” For a 3-day lag, the nonaccident mortality increased by 1.52,”… for PM2.5


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        bobl

        On the other hand Jo, it really doesn’t matter what you overload your body’s cleansing systems with, there’ll be an effect. In fact I am very worried about your enormous chocolate supplies. Then again, one can never have too much chocolate…

        Really, when it comes to particulates I think there are more likely thresholds, where contaminants overwhelm ellimination and toxin accumulation can happen. Stay below such point and probably most things are mostly harmless.

        For those health nuts, your ability to elliminate toxins and protect your dna strands is very dependent on availability of certain antioxidants, so go to it and raise those thresholds.


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          Geoff Sherrington

          Anti oxidant fads are junk science.
          All chemicals that react with the strong oxidants like ozone and forms of oxygen itself are, by definition, anti oxidants.
          It is rather like the pH concept. All chemicals that react with the strongest of acids are, by definition,alkalis (also known as bases).
          It follows that almost every chemical can be classed as an anti oxidant. The term HAS to be qualified to have any use. The qualification must include what the candidate is reacting with.
          Since, in human biology, it is often unkown what the claimed anti oxidant is reacting with, most times the health concept is bog ignorant nonsense.
          Besides, the mere act ot swallowing food claimed to contain anti oxidants however defined, carries no guarantee that said anto oxidants will find the intended target among many other reactive contenders and so have a measurable effect, be it good or bad. Every food is an antiboxidant for something.
          If you want to be suckered by advertising, go ahead and believe in faries as well.
          The whole topic is a money spinning con.


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  • #
    Pouncer

    I think you’ve discovered soon-to-be-published excuse number 31 for “the pause”… soot/black carbon from diesel exhaust has blocked insolation and therefore cooled the globe, offsetting the greenhouse effect.


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    Rud Istvan

    Some basic facts behind the murky data. Diesel is about 20% more efficient than petrol for two reasons. First, there is 11% more heat enegy per liter than standard gasoline. Chemistry. Second, operates at higher compression ratios that are more efficient. Thermodynamics.
    Three downsides. First higher compression means more robust engine means costs more. The bigger the engine, the less the penalty, whichnismwhy most trucks are diesel and most cars aren’t outsode Europe. Second, higher compression means more NOx pollution, more difficult to clean up in a catalytic converter. Third, more black hydrocarbon ‘soot’, specifically potentially carcinogenic PM2.5 that is the most dangerous because reaches the deep lung tissue. Can only be partly cleaned up by afterburner treatments like Blu tech. However, most of the PM2.5 health risks are projections from gross (literally and figuratively) situations in China, or are statistical epidemiology subject to lots of confounding variables. The actual danger at London levels is harder to quantify than the cited studies pretend.
    Bottom line is tax policies drove Europe to diesel. Better answers might have been hybrids 10-25-50% fuel efficiency improvement depending on micro-mild-full implementation, dual clutch transmissions (12% improvement over torque converter automatics), and direct injection turbocharged gasoline engines 15% or more improvement in efficiency. Ford in the US has mixes of all three. The Ford Fusion is a weak full hybrid with DCT and Econoost engine. Less CO2, less NOx, less PM2.5 than any comparable (mid sized 4 door) family sedan in Europe. A US best seller without any tax incentives or subsidies.


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      A C Osborn

      Rud Istvan August 5, 2014 at 1:25 am ·
      You are wrong on one count, the UK sales of Diesels has nothing to do with Tax breaks like th rest of Europe enjoyed, in fact for years they have been taxing it at 3-4p per litre more than petrol.
      What the report does not tell you is that during the period quoted for the dramatic increase in UK diesels the NOx pollution has dropped from 2750 in 1990 down to 1750 in 2010.

      http://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/assets/documents/reports/aqeg/nd-summary.pdf


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      DT

      Rud, by injecting Liquid Petroleum Gas mixed with diesel, typical 4-cylinder 2.7 litre diesel engine inject 20 per cent LPG, diesel combustion rises from around 80 per cent to over 95 per cent and using the previously wasted diesel fuel increases power and torque, typical gain at the rear wheels is 20 per cent.

      Because of the gas to diesel ratio the gas tank can be much smaller and therefore easier to mount.

      There is a small fuel consumption decrease overall. Do not consider any LPG system, fumigation for example, other than needle injection.


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  • #
    Ian

    I drive a diesel in the UK it is much more economical than an equivalent petrol engine. Cost is the major factor in choosing diesel. My fuel costs are about £50 per week for petrol and about £40 per week for diesel.


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    The Backslider

    We had a friend, non smoker, who spent his working life driving a diesel powered bob cat.

    Died very young of lung cancer.


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      A C Osborn

      What was he doing piping the Diesel exhaust in to the car?
      The problems with diesels are supposed to be the Exhaust.


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      • #
        The Backslider

        Clearly you have never driven a bobcat – you get a whiff of diesel fumes all the time.

        Also, thank you very much for your sensitivity, I’m sure his family would love you.


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      • #
        Yonniestone

        AC Think about it, sitting in a bobcat the exhaust is behind you above your head while you drive back and forth 50/50 through the suspended cloud of exhaust fumes.

        I have seen some companies make their plant operators wear a mask as an OHS procedure but what about after work when you sit in traffic with the window down or fill up at a service station exposed to fuel vapors or exhaust fumes?

        I worked on a road crew asphalting for a while and the amount of bitumen/diesel fumes was the most I was ever exposed to, of the 2 business owners who worked their lives asphalting one died from cancer and the other has lived past retirement.


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    • #
      Geoff Sherrington

      Whereas, before we started open pit mining for uranium at Ranger, we did several years of off-and-on study on enclosed cabins to keep radon doses as low as possible. Sorry about the double standards that society uses to protect uranium miners more than the general public. There have been no cases of excess cancers from these uranium operations.


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    gesta non verba

    There are three kind of lies – lies,damned lies and statistics.
    Would these so called extra deaths have been caused by some other factor not considered by the statisticians such as extra traffic noise or a greater incidence of sea spray or more stress in their lives,unless each individual is studied then it gets back to nothing more than statistics?
    (In 2012 a large prospective cohort study from Denmark showed that traffic noise was significantly associated with risk of heart attack — for every 10 decibel increase in noise exposure (either at the time of the attack or over the five years preceding it) there was a 12% increased risk.)
    I would also ask the question of this Danish study is it the traffic noise solely or the stress created by the traffic noise that leads to the higher risk of heart attack?
    If it is the former could the increase use of phones or music devices also be considered as a problem?
    One bugbear I have with todays scientists is this fitting the facts to suit the theory or what it really should be called is wishful thinking,which gets back to my first sentence -lies damned lies and statistics!


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      helen brady

      Yes a pinch of salt needed. How come with all the scares we are living longer and longer.


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      • #
        gesta non verba

        Helen,are we living longer,I have a bit of a theory about that -inflation.
        Gold was once trading at $25US an ounce now it is about $1200US an ounce,the gold is still the same but the money is now worth less than it was back then so maybe out time has been de-valued,as I have gotten older time appears to be moving very quickly compared to my 20′s.


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    • #
      Annie

      The definition of a statistician:

      Someone with one foot in a block of ice and the other in a very hot frying pan who says “On average, I feel pretty good!”


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      Mike

      GnV: there’s actually a 4th kind of lie – Spreadsheets. Don’t believe one till you’ve examined the formulae.


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  • #
    Mike Singleton

    An example of the idiocy of some green idiots regulations on diesel engine vehicles in North America comes from the Jeep range.

    Last year a friend purchased a new diesel engine Jeep, it has a catalyzed Urea injection system to reduce NOX emissions.

    The problem is the Urea solution freezes at a temperature above what the ambient can be in Canada in the winter, as he discovered when the lack the Urea injection resulted in the vehicle being disabled after about 200Km of limp home mode. The vehicle was recalled to fit heaters to the Urea tank. Probably not going to be a problem for Australia!!!


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    • #
      Yonniestone

      When I first saw Urea used on diesel trucks I questioned what the hell is a fertilizer is doing in an engine? :)

      Australia can get cold enough to use the Urea tank heaters and I have seen a truck disabled from this problem, the resourceful driver managed to get a hairdryer working to defrost the tank. :)

      I actually use a 2 stroke TC-W3 outboard marine oil in the fuel system of my LS1 5.7 V8 at a 1:500, the combustion chambers are carbonization free with increased economy and power, I also fitted an oil catch can to keep the air intake manifold free of oil for a cleaner combustion process.


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  • #
    PeterB in Indianapolis

    So, I have a question for Jo, or anyone who feels like doing a bit of research/math:

    With approx. 7,000,000,000 of us now on the planet (lets not even add in all of the other animals that breathe), how many tons of CO2 per year do we collectively EXHALE???

    How does this compare with well-known estimates of annual industrial CO2 emissions in tons per year???

    I strongly suspect that we collectively exhale more CO2 than all industry emissions put together on an annual basis, but I could be WAY off, and don’t feel like doing all of the “googling” necessary to do the maths for myself.

    Any takers who want to come up with the answer? To simplify the question:

    How many tons/year of CO2 are emitted by the exhalation of 7 Billion human beings vs. how much CO2 is collectively emitted in tons/year by “fossil fuel emissions”?

    If the Exhalation number is > the industrial emissions number, that would be telling.


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      James the Elder

      I would think that humans are merely returning carbon formerly sequestered in our foodstuffs to the natural carbon cycle. Therefore, a net zero.


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        Carbon500

        James the Elder: I toyed with the figures for human CO2 exhalation some years ago. The world’s population was estimated to be 6.1 billion in 2000 (ref: Population Reference Bureau), and it may rise to more than 9 billion in the next 50 years.
        So, I’d say that more humans = more CO2, just as more cars = more CO2.
        Based on the data I saw at the time, I calculated human CO2 exhalations to be 1.89 gigatonnes annually.


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        PeterB in Indianapolis

        Yes, but “industry” is merely burning stuff which has sequestered carbon in it, thereby returning THAT carbon to the natural carbon cycle as well; therefore, industrial emissions of CO2 would also, by the same argument, be a net zero.


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      Ian Hill

      A quick check of Heaven+Earth by Ian Plimer reveals that animals produce 25 times as much CO2 as cars and industry (page 413).


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      ROM

      Peter B @ # 15

      Others have asked and answered that same question;

      Math! How much CO2 is emitted by human on earth annually?

      claim#1: CO2 emission = 0.90 X 365 x 6 600 000 000

      = 2.168 x 10^9 tonnes/year

      claim#2: CO2 emission = 0.565 x 365 x 6 600 000 000

      = 1.362 x 10^9 tonnes/year


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      • #
        to0mason

        Nice difference in figures.

        It is probably down to estimates of population type (numbers of old and infant(small lungs) to numbers of big active and healthy), and CO2 exhale percentage (size of lungs vary quite a lot), and the rest/active aproximation (more active more CO2).

        I was asked a similar problem a couple of days ago. I knew I had done similar calculations a few years ago.
        I ended up with a figure that was darn close to 1.6 x 10^9 tonnes/year.


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      • #
        Mark D.

        What about the carbon sequestered in the bodies of baby-boomers? There is a problem for you.


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      gesta non verba

      Now here’s a curly one if the amount of CO2 exhaled is as toomason has said 1.6×10^9tonnes/year,a)Does it remain in the atmosphere or b)Does it fall to the surface.
      Now if it stays in the atmosphere will all this extra weight cause the planet to be unbalanced in its rotation?


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    • #
      GD

      Peter
      I personally wouldn’t worry to much as an increase in CO2 will result in an
      increase in plant growth,which will increase conversion of CO2 into plant material.
      This would balance out as an ideal outcome.


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        PeterB in Indianapolis

        Actually, I wasn’t “worried” in the least – CO2 isn’t a “pollutant” in any way, shape, or form, and if it does cause “global warming” then the climate “sensitivity” to CO2 is a vanishingly small number.

        My main point was that “industrial emissions” of CO2 are vanishingly small compared to the amount of CO2 collectively exhaled by all breathing creatures on the planet, so worrying about “industrial emissions” is just silly anyway.


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    Roy Hogue

    I fell for a diesel car once. So just a some comments from the experience.

    1. 40 MPG (miles/gallon) using cheaper fuel was a whole lot better than 25. There’s no doubt of that. But once they caught on to the diesel craze the price of fuel went up. Always charge all the traffic will bear, right?

    2. It was so noisy that it’s probably partly responsible for the hearing loss I have. You’ve never heard such a racket and not from the exhaust either but from in front of you. Some others did a better job with the noise but you could always tell they were diesels by ear without ever seeing them.

    3. I was always glad the exhaust was behind me as I drove. Those behind me were not so glad.

    4. It was never designed right and was troublesome from the first mile to the last.

    5. I finally got rid of it at about 100,000 miles. Sold it to a guy who actually wanted the thing, cracked block and all — price: $400.00 (I paid nearly $8,000 for it new).

    6. I had several friends with diesels. GM’s were even worse but Peugeot and Mercedes Benz had a lot more experience and they at least were not troublesome. You still didn’t want to be driving behind them however.

    7. On top of everything else, there was no idle-up when cold and the normal diesel fuel pump governor didn’t handle the requirement so it almost wouldn’t run when cold unless I gave it some throttle with my foot. And if I didn’t goose it a little it shook the whole car.

    8. I was never so glad to be rid of a VW in my whole life.

    Looking back all I can say is that it seemed like a good idea at the time. And once into it I suspect pride a little too great to admit it was a mistake is what kept me driving it for much too long. But you’re entitled to learn from your mistakes. Or so I’m told.

    No more diesels and no more solar panels either.

    Diesels are good for hauling heavy loads but automotive use is wasting their only real benefit — enough power to do the job without excessive fuel consumption.


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    • #
      bobl

      I wouldn’t think that was a modern turbo diesel by a long shot, no trouble, great torque, just cruises along at the highway limit. I agree totally on the fuel price and noise though, there just isn’t a way to really silence a high compression engine, personally I don’t find it excessive though – the cheap wheel bearings are a bigger noise problem for me.


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      • #
        Roy Hogue

        No, definitely not turbo.

        If it had been I suspect the block would have cracked sooner from the added pounding of combustion of more fuel under even higher pressure.


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      Annie

      I’m sorry to hear that you had such a bad experience. We bought a second hand VW Passat diesel in late 2002 in the UK. It was a wonderful vehicle…quiet and efficient and very comfortable. We reluctantly parted with it when we needed an estate car (station wagon to our Aussie and American friends) as we had 2 grandchildren and a dog to transport long distances around England.


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      • #
        Roy Hogue

        This one was a late ’80s model. I’m confident that later models have the benefit of their bad experience and would be more reliable.

        However, I don’t know of any way to get rid of the exhaust odor, not even with filtering. If you know any details of the technology in your Passat I’d like to hear about them.

        Even a light diesel engine requires a much beefier block and head than a similar power gas engine requires and that’s extra cost to the manufacturer that they will certainly pass on to the consumer. And if they don’t beef it up it’s going to fail as mine eventually did. Long haul semi tractors go multiple hundreds of thousands of miles with only general maintenance because they have much heavier engine blocks and heads, not to mention being built for longer life all the way around.

        Unfortunately the real advantage of diesels is still in the heavy load capability and for passenger cars the hybrid appears to be a good bet, at least the Toyotas are. I still wonder about the battery problem, though. Driving 160,000 miles in a short time as one test did proves nothing because battery life is dependent on two things, not just one. So the number of charge-discharge cycles isn’t enough. Time will also kill the battery. And we still don’t know what that time frame is.

        Also unfortunately for the complainers, I don’t see how diesels are going to disappear any time soon because of that very real advantage I just stated.


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        • #
          Roy Hogue

          Sorry, it was a 1980, not late ’80s.


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          • #
            bobl

            Diesel engines have come a loooooong way since then Roy


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            • #
              Roy Hogue

              Bob,

              I’m sure they have. And there have been advances in fuel refining too, I believe among other things that a lot of the sulfur in some of the raw crude is now removed.

              But I can still smell them whenever I’m around them.

              Diesel passenger cars have fallen more or less out of favor here and I suspect the EPA’s tightening exhaust regulations are causing headaches to every designer of diesel engines, no matter the use.


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          Annie

          I don’t think we have the info now. We have had Volvo estates since then; our favourite types, and our present one is a 6-speed manuel diesel…a great car. We don’t use it for short runs though; on long ones it gives over 50mpg!


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  • #
    Sundance

    I seem to recall that with more power blackouts in the UK, many hospitals were encouraged by the British Government to use more diesel generators for power needs.

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/jun/28/nhs-hospitals-generate-power-blackout

    The idea that hospitals are now contributing to health problems seems like an unintended consequence of the best laid plans of government.


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      the Griss

      Not only that, but I recall reading somewhere that huge banks of diesel generators are used to back up wind and solar.


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        James Bradley

        Griss,

        Yep they were right – stupid is as stupid does – get rid of long term clean, cheap and efficient modern coal then replace it with inefficient, expensive and short term solar and wind then back that up with banks of diesel generators that need to operate probably 75% of the time to ensure base load.

        I’ve written it before and I’ll write it again – that sure is some f###ed up s##t right there.


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        • #
          Roy Hogue

          Oh come now, James. If your aim is to knock civilization back a century and a half, killing off a few trillion humans in the process, then it makes perfect sense. :-)

          Or should it be :-( ?


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  • #
    motvikten

    Ross McKitrick did some interesting work on air pollution.

    http://www.rossmckitrick.com/pollution-and-health.html


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    FrankSW

    This is not about “Dirty Diesel” but about a more that common beaurocratic process – the never ending tightning of emission limits. Here the culprit will probably be the December 2013 EU Air quality Directive. Not only do EU statelets have to comply with up and coming lower emission standards but they have to publish plans on how they are going to achieve these new targets and Boris’s plan for more income from drivers is but one proposal, another was the recently rejected plan to reduce motorway speed limits in busy sections.

    As an example of how much vehicle emissions have improved in the last 20 years is part of a comment by PeterMG from Paul Homewood’s blog entry on this subject.

    ” The latest Euro 6 heavy duty diesel engines exhaust is cleaner than the air going into the intake. That is because it goes via selective catalytic reduction and a particulate trap. (see Link) To help visualise the difference A Euro 1 (that’s a 1993) powered 38 tonne articulated truck had an emissions footprint about the size of a football pitch. The same Euro 5 (2010) powered 44 tonne articulated truck today has an emissions footprint the size of a postage stamp. Euro 6 has reduced that by 50%. The Boris buses with their Euro 6 Cummins Engines produced in Darlington are cleaning London’s air.”


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    Sean

    I won’t argue one way or another about the diesel emissions being hazardous or not nor do I wish to get into an argument about the efficiency between diesel and petrol. I just wish to point out there is a lot more expensive diesel powered electricity in the UK’s future. It seems that between coal plant shut downs, retirement of nuclear, slow build out coupled with reduce subsidies for renewables and uncertainty about construction of new natural gas fired powered plants the UK may be setting them selves up for severe power shortages when it gets very cold in winter and there is little wind. The solution for this predicament will be to impress into service many small many diesel back up systems to make up for power shortages.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2362762/The-dirty-secret-Britains-power-madness-Polluting-diesel-generators-built-secret-foreign-companies-kick-theres-wind-turbines–insane-true-eco-scandals.html
    So the saga of diesel gets more complex as CO2 emissions drive all energy decisions and if you ask the renewable people, they say the diesel backups are they in case other fossil energy sources are not available.
    http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2013/08/diesel-generation-won%E2%80%99t-be-used-as-renewables-backup,-despite-critics%E2%80%99-claims/


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    • #
      diogenese2

      Sean – a green tick for showing the insanity of UK energy policy. But you are right to eschew the statistical debate about pollution. “tree varieties of untruth – lies, dammed lies and statistics”. The authorship is disputed but the truth shines through. It is easy to grab impressive figures and hurl them at the gullible. The current deceit is that 30K UK death a year are due to energy policy. I note that the links to Prof Kelly’s comments are to the Guardian (FFS) and that those of Barrett & Yim are to Forbes! Is this academic rigour. Note the error bars in Barrett & Yim – “we estimate the error in premature mortality calculations as -80% to +50%”
      Are these people for real! ” the total monetized life loss in the UK is estimated at £0.6b – £62b per year”.
      That’s £3.1m per death – my widow is going to be seriously pissed off with her stipend!
      I frequently enter the UK Office of national Statistics database – I lifetime career for data miners. In 10 minute I panned the following. “excess winter deaths” have fluctuated wildly. In 1950/51 it was 106K – about 3 times recent totals- I just remember that year as it took my Grandfather.
      The biggest 1 year change was 88/89 to 89/90 -223%. in the coldest winter for 14 years (2010) it was 30% less than 2008 – which was about the mean. The biggest correlation is not with hypothermia but with the influenza index.
      In the meantime the misnamed “life expectancy” actually “average age of death” has increased inexorably throughout my lifetime (Yeh!), though 1942 is not a good prior.
      In truth, all the statistical debate above is pretty trivial but the post brilliantly illustrates my favourite natural law – that of unintended consequences.
      Good spot though Motviken #18 & link to Ross Mckitrick – now that’s statistics!


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      • #
        bobl

        Ok, now lets apply that error, 30,000 prematures deaths -80%/+50% means that there are between 6,000 and 45,000 deaths due to energy policy, excuse me for saying, but I dont find that particularly reassuring. Governments are there to protect populations, not to sacrifice them, even ONE death from government policy is a scandal, 6000 deaths and someone should go to gaol.

        Just a few deaths were enough in the pink batts scandal to make heads roll but seemingly 6000 – 45000 deaths due to a similar green policy in the UK is perfectly acceptable.

        The issue with the UK is NOT the quantum, but the sign, excess winter deaths need to be reduced by the government, but instead they are deliberately increasing them it DOESN’T MATTER by how much – therein lies the scandal.


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        • #
          diogenese2

          Bobl – the 30,000 are the total excess deaths during the 6 winter months compared with summer. It has always been so and fluctuates wildly from year to year. A newspaper linked the figure to fuel poverty and produced the sound bite “heat or eat”. The figure is an urban myth without sound evidence base. I know elderly people die in impoverished circumstances, I have seen this and hypothermia does not often appear on death certificates when it may have contributed.
          The figures though are a guess and using refutable “facts” does not help the case against insane policies – it simply distracts.


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            bobl

            It’s clear that fuel poverty has impacted that, just one death contributed to by fuel poverty is one death too many, and government policy is driving more and more people into fuel poverty which is killing people, face it mate… I don’t care how small the fraction is, someones grandmother dies every winter from fuel poverty and it’s an indictment against the UK government that it happens.

            If it is your grandmother next winter, will that be your “one too many”?


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      Mark D.

      Some good thoughts Sean, not only do I believe these “death figures” to be a complete crock, I think it is folly to use a perfect fuel for mobile applications in a stationary generator.

      I do want to know what EU refineries do with their gasoline (petrol) after producing all that diesel (and home heating) oil. They have a market somewhere.


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  • #
    Doug UK

    The sad thing is that our previous Labour Government saw fit to scrap the Powershift Scheme that paid for 80% the conversion costs of converting a petrol vehicle to LPG.

    The particulate emissions from a car running on LPG are minute compared to a diesel. I ran a petrol V8 Discovery for years and enjoyed half price fuel and the sight of MOT testers scratching their heads if I left it on LPG during the emissions test as they thought their machine was broken.

    Currently LPG is half the cost of diesel.

    Their is a minuscule Road tax advantage for LPG cars.

    But to me diesel cars on stop start, traffic congested runs in cities and towns was never and never can be the answer.

    The lunatic idea that CO2 is a poison drove this crazy move to diesels. Diesels are great for longer runs.

    And the crazy notion that electric cars somehow solve the issue is another lunatic idea because whilst it solves the issue of pollution on the streets of our cities – all it does is move the pollution to the primary generator.

    But then the answer becomes Wind Solar etc etc……………

    And all the time – we could have made it economically viable and cleaned up our streets by using an unwanted by-product of oil production that has CO2 levels a bit lower than diesel, particulate pollution substantially lower than diesel and petrol, and allows existing cars to be used more “cleanly”.

    If you want a practical demonstration……….

    Light a can of petrol

    Light a can of diesel

    Then light a Propane stove and measure the difference in smoke soot and other crap.

    The tax breaks for diesels for use in our congested cities is an absolutely CLASSIC example of non-scientific numpties getting their own way on the basis of yet more dodgy dossiers, shouting more loudly than anyone else – and YES! best description ever – “we had better do it or the likes of Caroline Lucas (UK Green party MP) could go into a sulk”

    Caroline Lucas – introduced as “Dr” Caroline Lucas – expert on Climate Change does indeed have a PhD.

    It is in “Romantic elizabethan literature”

    I kid you not !

    it is thanks to the likes of HER – that we have 7000 deaths a year in the UK because we are trying to reduce a gas that is a perfectly normal part of the Carbon Cycle and is a food substrate for plants.

    Tho’ I expect her answer will be to ban ALL transport and we should all move to the countryside to live.

    I wonder if Pol Pot liked romantic literature (elizabethan or otherwise) – could be something else these two have in common.


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      bobl

      LPG is a pretty hopeless fuel, it’s energy density is less than petrol, and not only that it takes energy to liquefy it which subtracts from it’s energy efficiency, if you were to add up the lifecycle emissions for LPG or LNG it won’t be quite as good as you think.


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      Annie

      I agree diesel is appropriate to long runs and not running around towns. I ‘m not sure about LPG . I loathe sitting behind an LPG vehicle as the smell makes me feel really sick…I think some of the conversions done were bit iffy.


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      ROM

      Pol Pot, Butcher of Cambodia

      Even in the blood-drenched annals of twentieth-century history, Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia stands out for the sheer scale and senselessness of its atrocities. In the name of creating an agrarian communist revolution, Pol Pot and his underlings killed at least 1.5 million of their own people in the infamous Killing Fields. They wiped out between 1/4 and 1/5 of the country’s entire population.
      &
      Probably because of his connections rather than his scholastic record, the government gave him a scholarship to travel to Paris, and pursue higher education in the field of electronics and radio technology at the Ecole Francaise d’Electronique et d’Informatique (EFRIE). Saloth Sar was in France from 1949 to 1953; he spent most of his time learning about Communism rather than electronics
      &
      Saloth Sar [ Pol Pot ] flunked out of college in 1953.


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      OriginalSteve

      Pol Pot was an unhinged genocidal ex-teacher….


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    motvikten

    The issue of health effects from particles is complicated.
    ( I am a retired small particle buster)

    I link to prof Pershagen, Stockholm Sweden.
    http://ki.se/en/people/gorper


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    kuhnkat

    Those thousands of deaths are based on the same BS as fears over radiation, carcinogens, GMO, and numerous other alarmist moves. Linear No Threshold (LNT) is about a 60 year OLD, Fallacious assumption that something that can kill or harm in large doses will have a fairly linear harm if graphed down to ZERO amount. As much of the necessary trace elements in our bodies are lethal at large doses we should mostly be dying from their effects if LNT was a valid assumption.

    More junk science…


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      and what a junk comment. Another one of those evidence free assertions that we are free to dismiss without evidence. According to you everything we are told is bad is not. Then you say that carcinogens (ie something that by definition causes cancer) are not bad for you. Did you stop to think before writing?


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      Mark D.

      KuhnKat, It’s almost like we’re going to die some time. Wonder of wonders.

      Gee Eye

      WTF? Got some maths to back up the “deaths”? or did they have to make some adjustments to the data?

      Carcinogens do not always cause cancer in every case of exposure. Someone had to do some modeling didn’t they? The cause of death from smog and combustion products isn’t cancer alone. This means the models would have to be complex.

      Where have we seen this before?


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        What deaths?

        A carcinogen causes cancer. A poison poisons. Of course they can be presented in such a way as to be harmless, like a gun with no bullets or whatever, but KK made the unqualified thoughtless statement so ask him/her why he/she thinks a carcinogen is harmless not me.


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    John in Oz

    and the people responsible for introducing the laws that have these unintended consequences get away with it while enjoying generous pensions and perks plus a cosy stipend on various boards, committees and QUANGOs.

    Any other (non politician) person would be hauled into court for this.


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    Scott

    Hi guys as an ex petroleum chemist the issue is not so much about the chain length per say but the branching and double bonds of the hydrocarbons. These branched chains and double bonds are very reactive and come from the quality of the base material ie the crude sweet or sour which also determines the sulphur content.

    I had to work on a project with the CSIRO in the 90′s to Hydro treat Diesel to saturate these bonds with Hydrogen so the diesel would be more stable in heat, have a lower cloud point ie less wax etc. ( I had a great time driving around farms testing stored diesel for awhile got me out of the lab)

    I would suspect not only does the engine need to be operating efficiently but the diesel needs to be high quality as well.

    I wonder if Bio-diesel could potentially be worse than Crude derived if not treated suitably. Might be worth a bit of a look into.


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    Richard deSousa

    I would want to question those numbers published by the EU. I’d bet they are probably using the Drake Equation to arrive at their conclusions! I would question the size of the sample to arrive at their answer. Drake Equation… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drake_equation

    Do Aliens Cause Global Warming? https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/~scranmer/SPD/crichton.html


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    pat

    ***we need to stop denying “CLIMATE”!!!! the MSM continues to discredit itself:

    4 July: Guardian: World’s top PR companies rule out working with ***climate deniers
    Ten firms say they will not represent clients that deny man-made climate change or seek to block emisson-reducing regulations
    Suzanne Goldenberg and Nishad Karim
    Public relations firms have played a critical role over the years in framing the debate on climate change and its solutions – as well as the extensive disinformation campaigns launched to block those initiatives.
    Now a number of the top 25 global PR firms have told the Guardian they will not represent clients who deny man-made climate change, or take campaigns seeking to block regulations limiting carbon pollution. Companies include WPP, Waggener Edstrom (WE) Worldwide, Weber Shandwick, Text100, and Finn Partners.
    “We would not knowingly partner with a client who denies the existence of climate change,” said Rhian Rotz, spokesman for WE,,.
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/aug/04/worlds-top-pr-companies-rule-out-working-with-climate-deniers


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      the Griss

      “we need to stop denying “CLIMATE”!!!!”

      Is a very strange thing to say, isn’t it.

      Change is PART of every climate. I know of no climate anywhere that doesn’t change all the time.

      hot-cold, wet-dry, wind-calm.. short periods of different combination, longer periods as well.

      Change is an integral part of the global climate. !!


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      DT

      Thanks for that list, I would never knowingly do business with Green extremists, or any public relations business that obviously has a relationship with clients problem.


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    [...] And do you remember how everyone was encouraged to get diesel cars? [...]


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    Safetyguy66

    Just forced myself to sit through an interview with Bob Brown on ABC radio. Im going to just come out and say it, the man is a compulsive liar and charlatan, easily on par with Tim Flannery for spouting absolute nonsense.

    He dropped a few real fact free rippers, especially for any Tasmanian. Like “Ive never met a logger that didn’t agree with me” and “the forestry industry lost 5000 jobs from factors with nothing to do with the environment, but tourism employs more people”. Not even a pause to let the listener wonder how many of the 5000 jobs lost in logging ended up in tourism, just let people assume it was a one to one transfer.

    I could go on, but if you want to hear a man who is occupying a completely alternate reality talk about fairies and unicorns for 20 minutes, then do yourself a favour…… visit your local loony bin and don’t waste your time with this.

    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lifematters/optimism3a-bob-brown/5646720


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    jorgekafkazar

    If you think THIS is betrayal by the EU, you haven’t seen anything, yet. This is the tip of the tip of an iceberg.


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    ROM

    Before getting too excited and Jo has already pointed this out, one needs to look at both the age of those who supposedly succumb to diesel pollution and their life’s history. If we are talking about the older generations who are the by far the most likely to be classified as succumbing to diesel pollution, then like most of my generation of the late 1930′s we were all exposed to large amounts of animal manure dust and hair and fur contaminates as well as dust and diesel smoke and petrol fumes over most of our working lives.
    Plus the dust from animal feeds which had to be prepared such as chaff cutting from hay and then the dust when feeding the animals such as a twelve or so working horse team each morning at 5 am then again at midday then again at 8 or 9 pm at night before finally getting to bed.

    Then there were the cows and sheep in their hundreds. Sheep and cattle in particular in Australian conditions can create a hell of a lot of dust when being worked on in the yards, dust that has a high component of quite bacterial laden, not all of them friendly to humans, polluting animal dung in it.
    In colder environments the animals are housed and the dung, hair and feed dust and even dust from the various additives to keep the animals healthy in confinement. The very fine , almost invisible dust and bacterial load can in that case, be very high as the animals need and get constant attention whilst being housed through the colder months.
    Even most city dwellers in those pre WW2 days were in frequent contact with animals and then went on to live in a polluting haze covered city for most of the rest of their lives
    [ I well remember up to 20 or so years ago, coming through the Pentland Hills to the west of Melbourne where one can see the city laid out across the plains around the Bay. There was always a great dome of almost impenetrable haze laying directly over the city and almost hiding the towers and central city from view.
    Now mostly gone thanks to the clean up of the air polluting sources in the City. ]

    All of these by byproducts of mankind’s association and reliance on animals created a whole gamut of quite nasty bacterial and chemical pollutants that are taken into the lungs of everybody who works with animals
    Then add on the working with modern machinery and petroleum and the increasingly vast range of chemical products around us.
    Even polyvinyl chloride, the plastic stuff in your car which you can often smell after your car has been sitting in the hot sun for a couple of hours and is also found in your kitchen and every where else is known to slightly carcinogenic.

    I don’t wish to offend peoples sensibilities but at 8.30 in the morning as I write this I am almost over my morning hacking and coughing and sputum excretion exercise
    It absolutely drives myself and my wife mad each morning.
    Lung tests are good and I walk my usual 3.2 kms [ two miles ] each evening in the usual 34 minutes without raising a sweat.

    I use to spend a thousand hours a year mid winter, mid summer and everything in between, on an open air diesel tractor with the diesel fumes regularly blowing back over me every time I went into the wind.
    Cultivating very regularly was almost the only decent weed control means we had before weedicides became the main means of preventing weeds competing with the grain crop .
    So I was out there along with every other grain grower of those times cultivating with diesel fumes and smoke regularly blowing back over me /us
    And I started tractor driving when I came home from college at 15 years old. .

    The we did clover harvesting using road brooms and elevators to load the clover seed pods, dirt, straw and what ever else a big rotating road broom can sweep up onto a truck to take to the stationary thresher. Loading those trucks mean’t standing under the elevator and forking the whole lot of the broom sweepings forward and around the truck.
    Often in the most literal sense we could not actually see our hands when the arm was fully extended because of the dust on the back of those trucks.
    No dust masks back in the mid 1950′s so a wet handkerchief across the face which stayed wet for about a minute at the start of a load was our dust protection .

    When harvesting grain we sat on the open header and every time we had to go down wind we got covered in dust and s chaff and suffered rather badly but that was what life was like and we diidn’t expect anything different back then farming wise.
    I did the entire harvest driving a Massey diesel tractor and the the Sunshine header using the extension steering , ie driving the tractor from the towed behind header using a long steering shaft from the header to the tractor steering wheel, while the old man drove the truck to the local grain silo’s to deliver the grain when I was 16.

    Today I, along with all those other farmers and workers of our generations are paying the price, for some a very heavy price, of the heavily polluted by today’s standards, working conditions that were the accepted norm and prevailed in our early working lives some 60 or more years ago.

    I am lucky as I never smoked from choice so have been spared the sufferings that so many have endured from a combination of tobacco smoke and dust and diesel and petrol fumes and animal dusts and contaminates with a consequent break down in their lungs and breathing and the effects on other organs in our later lives.

    But the centre of my message here is that to just blame diesel smoke and pollution for the increase in deaths from diesel combustion by products pollution is another scientific bit of crap research in my opinion.

    There is one hell of a lot of other factors including even the housing environment, the heating and cooling systems you live and work in, the office environment, where and when and in what conditions you play, that barbecue smoke that you enjoy and is full of carcinogens and so much else that all in some way or another contribute to some but not necessarily all suffering from what at first glance seems to be a very simplistic and easily blamed and a nice reputation enhancer for scientists to use and which looks good to further scare people, the cause of a major health problem, the modern essential to civilisation diesel engines and the byproducts of their combustion .

    It is not as simple as those scientists would like to make out it is and that they once again, all over again, have all the answers.

    ____________

    To add a final item. Technology moves on as always.

    New Fuel Injection System to make Petrol Engines as Efficient as Hybrids

    [ quoted ]
    Delphi is developing an engine fuel injection technology that could improve the fuel economy of gas-powered cars by 50 percent, potentially rivalling the performance of hybrid vehicles at less cost. Their test engine based on the technology is similar in some ways to a highly efficient diesel engine, but runs on gasoline.

    Delphi’s approach, called gasoline-direct-injection compression ignition combines a collection of engine-operating strategies that make use of advanced fuel injection and air intake and exhaust controls, many of which are available on advanced engines today.

    The researchers found that if they injected the gasoline in three precisely timed bursts; they could avoid the too-rapid combustion that’s made some previous experimental engines too noisy. At the same time, they could burn the fuel faster than in conventional gasoline engines, which is necessary for getting the most out of the fuel.

    In conventional gasoline-powered engines, a spark ignites a mixture of fuel and air. Diesel engines don’t use a spark; diesels compress air until it’s so hot that fuel injected into the combustion chamber soon ignites, instead. Several researchers have attempted to use diesel like compression ignition with gasoline, but it’s proved challenging to control such engines, especially under the wide range of loads put on them as a car idles, accelerates, and cruises at various speeds.

    Delphi’s technology, which is called gasoline-direct-injection compression ignition, aims to overcome the problem with sophisticated injectors and injection control. It seems considerable computer and sensor technology is getting put to work.

    [ more ]


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      ROM

      I guess this aspect goes right back to the many doubts about this research expressed in a number of posts above.

      Diesel combustion carbon particulates are getting the blame for numerous health problems and deaths.

      But I have never seen any research on the particulates from tyre wear or the particulates from the surfaces of roads which a use a petroleum product, bitumen as the seal surface.
      Tyres use large amounts of black carbon in their make up and the rubber of the tyres. as we all know , after a long dry spell a heavily trafficked road will get damn slippery when it gets the first showers or rain onto it.
      The surface has become covered with fine residues from tyre wear and those residues have lots of black carbon particulates in them which is why tyres are black as is the road dust .
      Then there is the high carbon content of the petroleum originated bitumen seal surface which also wears away again contributing to the pollution load and the carbon particulate load.

      Research on all of this ????

      Nope! Its easier and more spectacular to just blame diesel engines for the lot.

      Or they aren’t smart enough to be able to distinguish diesel carbon particulates from the carbon particulates from tyres and the bitumen seal surfaces.


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    gesta non verba

    Now I do need to put my hand up and admit that I am a Luddite.
    For all mankinds knowledge and marvellous inventions we are going backwards.


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    pat

    Safetyguy66 -

    speaking of “their ABC”!

    5 Aug: SMH: Phillip Thomson: ABC presenters cash in on bureaucracy’s celebrity speaking gigs
    ABC presenters are scooping up many of the tens of thousands of dollars in celebrity speaking contracts being dished out by the federal public service.
    A small number of departments and agencies have divulged the names of high-profile speakers they have contracted.
    Answers to questions on notice reveal IP Australia paid $10,800 to bring in ABC science commentator Dr Karl Kruszelnicki to give a talk in June.
    IP Australia said his talk helped intellectual property staff keep up to date in science and engineering…
    Dr Karl, as he is known, is on the books at Claxton Speakers International along with Lateline presenter Emma Alberici.
    Austrade spent $14,300 to get Alberici to host its 51st Australian export awards a year ago.
    The Australian Bureau of Statistics spent $18,132 to have Dan Gregory, a panelist on The Gruen Transfer, as the keynote and dinner speaker at the NatStats conference in early 2013…
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/public-service/abc-presenters-cash-in-on-bureaucracys-celebrity-speaking-gigs-20140804-1006uy.html

    no doubt there’s more which could be divulged!


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      DT

      If you are aware of ABC Fact Check note that funding was provided by the Union Labor government in time for the 2013 federal election, clearly a biased to the left propaganda unit and headed by a man with the surname Skelton, his partner is ABC television presenter Trioli.


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    Streetcred

    Ban E10 fuel !


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    Jo, you are bangning om open doors. Diesel used to be “dirty” and leave a lot of PM. But Europe has had stringent program to reduce emissions. Here is a link to my blog where I recently showed this. It’s in swedish, but I’m sure you can understand the graph.
    https://www.frihetsportalen.se/2014/07/lognarna-pa-svt/


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    Granted, we live here in the states not the UK but I never recall any environmentalists who called for the use of diesel cars over standard ones, whether it be back in the 1990s or more recently. Yes, I’m sure there were many such wingnut environmentalists but they obviously didn’t know what they were talking about because the only combustion engine related recommendations that made sense was to increase the fuel efficiency of such vehicles or going to electric cars.


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    Roger In UK

    Premature deaths make for great headlines…But there not, so far as I am aware any definition of How Premature a death needs to be to be classified as Premature.

    Is it 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 1 year or more? Someone who is admitted to hospital with a terminal illness and through a small medical error dies a few days before they otherwise would is a Premature Death.

    As far as I am aware the claims of Premature Death are based on estimates as opposed to epidemiological studies. If I am right then there is no difference in approach between that and the AGW claims of future temperatures based on estimates squeezed through failed climate models.

    In the early 90s PM10s were the bogeyman … now another measure applies.

    In the UK the greatest contributor to high levels of Urban Pollution is the Labour Party. That may sound a strange claim until you look at the transport policies deployed by Labour controlled councils across the UK. Their intention is to force people from private to public transport to reduce congestion and pollution. They do that by causing as much delay, low speeds and as much stop-start driving as possible for motorists to try and peruade them to switch to public transport.

    A classic examples is Slough in Berkshire, in common with other towns with major through roads traffic lights were set so that a vehicle travelling at or just below the speed limit could pass all the way through without having to stop. It reduced congestion, reduced journey times, reduced fuel use and of course reduced pollution. In line with their now standard practice the Labour controlled council did away with that some years ago and re-phased the traffic lights to ensure that vehicles had to stop at every single set of lights they met and on the old Bath Road (A4) running through Slough that means about 20-25 times from one side to the other.

    I won’t go into the ‘traffic calming’ and road closures that Labour Councils have used to slow and cause as much inconvenience as possible to private motorists – but suffice it to say that in London under the control of Labour Mayor Ken Livingstone the amount of ‘calming’ and road closures was mind blowing and caused many people to die unnecessarily.

    The London ambulance carried out a detailed study which showed that the delays caused to emergency services (ambulance and fire) were so large because of the ‘traffic calming’ that many, many more people – who would otherwise have survived – were dying each year because of the time taken to reach them and get them to hospital – tha lives saved by a reduction in road accidents.

    Yet more lives sacrificed on the altar of the ‘Green Religion’.


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    Apoxonbothyourhouses

    Edmund King … said: “Some drivers will feel betrayed and misled because they were encouraged to go for the dash for diesel. … “The drivers thought they were doing the right thing, but now they are being told that it has serious health implications. They are being made to feel guilty for something that they were encouraged to do.

    So let me get this straight Jo. Here you blame the “system” not the drivers. However substitute the word diesel for solar panels … and in earlier blogs you criticise those who “were encouraged to do so” (install) and also thought they were doing the “right thing”.

    You cannot have it both ways.


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    el gordo

    ‘Apparently, far from investing in the motoring sale of the century, what I had, in fact, gone and bought was a four-wheeled cancer machine.
    Not only, he went on, are diesels extremely bad on the pollution front, spewing tiny carcinogenic particles into the air which lurk in your lungs and cause thousands of deaths in Britain every year, but they’re also terrible value for money.

    ‘I was so incensed to hear this, that I decided to investigate diesel cars — and I now realise my father was right. They are an out-and-out scam, and we have been scandalously gulled into buying them by our political leaders.’

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2720341/The-Great-Diesel-Scandal-Obsessed-CO2-emissions-politicians-bullied-bribed-buy-diesel-cars-knew-toxic-fumes-killing-And-guess-drivers-hit-extra-taxes.html#ixzz39vyn1xqk
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook


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    [...] joannenova.com.au: Green plan causes air pollution, may kill thousands in the UK The UK is not meeting air pollution standards, and more importantly, by at least one estimate, some [...]


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