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Our economy runs on diesel. It's burned in the road-going rigs that bring us everything from potatoes to potpourris. If it's on a store shelf, it likely arrived by oil-burning truck. Increasingly, diesel engines are also finding a home in our passenger cars, migrating from Europe, where they've long been popular.

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As if it wasn't clear from the bouts of coughing that sometimes happen when a truck goes by, diesel fumes are not good for people. After reviewing various studies, including one from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the World Health Organization has officially linked diesel exhaust to cancer, specifically lung and bladder cancers.

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In what might be considered one of the worst bits of info related to diesel engines, medical researchers at the University of Edinburgh say that chemical particles (aka particulates) exiting the tailpipe of diesel-fueled vehicles can significantly increase the risk of heart attack in otherwise healthy adults.

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Markets are great – but the true costs of our fuel choices are not reflected in the price

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It's not a myth. Pollution can lead to death. At least, that's what the California Air Resources Board's (CARB) report on fine particle pollution suggests. Titled "Estimate of Premature Deaths Associated with Fine Particle Pollution in California Using the United States Environmental Protection Agency Methodology," CARB's report finds that around 9,000 annual premature deaths in California can be associated with long-term exposure to fine particle pollution emitted by diesel-powered vehicles, eq

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Over in Europe, Mercedes-Benz has just introduced a version of the diesel powertrain for its buses that passes the EEV emissions standards without having to use either a particulate filter (DPF) or selective catalytic reduction (SCR).

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2009 Ford S-Max - Click on image for high-res gallery

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While diesel cars are tremendously popular in Europe, they're not without their drawbacks, especially if they're no as clean as possible. German diesel car drivers, for example, face the threat of an additional road tax of €1.2 per 0.1 liter of engine displacement if their car doesn't have an diesel particulate filter (DPF). Additionally, certain cities, such as Berlin and Hannover are going to ban diesel vehicles without DPFs from city centers. Buying a new car that has a DPF is not a viab

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Particulate filters are one of the keys to making modern diesel engines able to meet emissions requirements. They absorb the particles that comprise the black smoke people have traditionally associated with diesels. Japan's Mitsui Mining and Smelting Co has developed a new catalyst material for particulate filters that doesn't include platinum. Silver can work as a catalyst but it can't survive the high temperatures present in exhaust gases. Mitsui has blended a metal oxide in with silver to all

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Diesel engines are quite popular in Europe, but this bit of news will send shivers down the lungs of people throughout the area. Scottish scientists working at Edinburgh University identified diesel exhaust soot particles as the chief culprits in 9,000 fatal heart attacks a year across the United Kingdom. The team of scientists discovered how soot particles move from the lungs into the blood stream, where they can do massive damage. It's not just pedestrians and bike riders who are at risk, said

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