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Every minute matters when life is on the line. That's why ambulances exist and why we all (well, most of us, anyway) pull over when we see their flashing lights and hear sirens coming our way. And it's also why ambulances need to be as reliable as possible, with maintenance kept up so that they are in perfect working order at all times.

Mercedes-Benz dealers heavily marking up service products? You don't say.

In a lawsuit filed in early July, Navistar, a U.S.-based manufacturer of heavy-duty diesel engines, accused U.S. Environmental Protection Agency director, Lisa Jackson, of not upholding the Clean Air Act and the Agency of not acting to protect public health. At issue is whether emissions-control systems that rely on a fluid (for example, a urea solution, commonly referred to as selective catalyst reduction or SCR) work in the real world, where the tanks may not be filled up.

In a lawsuit filed earlier this month, Navistar, a U.S.-based manufacturer of heavy-duty diesel engines, accused U.S. Environmental Protection Agency director, Lisa Jackson, of not upholding the Clean Air Act and the Agency of not acting to protect public health.

2010 Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery

Not only is topping off your clean diesel's fancy selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system with urea a bit expensive, but if you don't keep it topped off, your car may not start at all.

As our nation's legislators continue to make it more and more difficult for diesel engines to meet tough new emissions requirements, Pilot, the country's largest operator of travel centers (aka truck stops), has announced it will begin selling diesel exhaust fluid at all of its locations. In 100 instances, the urea solution will be sold through at-the-pump dispensers while the remaining 250 or so locations will sell the fluid over-the-counter.

Click for a high res gallery of the new ML320 Bluetec

Catalytic converters are quite common for gasoline engines but diesel catalysts are less known, in part because they face greater challenges. Still, diesel catalysts have not disappeared because they are efficient and, when you start your car, they don't produce heaps of CO2. Their main problem is the large amount of carbon particulates (soot) and nitrogen oxides in the exhaust gas. Standard three-way converters are not effective because of the high oxygen content of these gases. BASF is on the

Could urea be a savior when it comes to reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide? By now we all know about injecting urea into diesel engine exhaust to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides. An Australian company has now received permission from the government of the Philippines to dump urea into the Sulu Sea of that country's coast.

Before the low sulfur diesel fuel that has become common here in the United States, it was impossible for automakers to install filters which would allow diesel engines to meet the requirements which were being imposed upon them. Fortunately, everything is coming together here in the States to allow for new clean diesel technology. Particulate filters, urea based injection systems and other technologies, combined with the low sulfur content in modern diesel fuel available here, have come togethe

Whether or not you believe in global warming, nitrogen-oxides, or NOx, definitely does contribute to acid rain and smog, which are not debatable. Because NOx is emitted in large quantities from the exhaust of diesel engines, something needs to stop it from entering our atmosphere. One way to do this is with urea, which is being used in the Bluetec systems installed by various automakers. Because people don't like to think about carrying around a container of urea (think urine, although it is usu

While perusing "the internets" for green-like automotive news, I stumbled upon a post about making batteries using various components, including urine. Urea is already in use for the BlueTec system in diesel cars and trucks, how about a hybrid with a urea tank for "rechargeable" batteries. Would this be the answer for all those complaining about the limited range of hybrid cars? Kill two birds with one stone: stop for a potty-break and top-up the batteries!

Matt Davis, the European Editor over at Winding Road, was able to get the low down on BMW's strategy to offer diesels here in the Land of the Brave.

The giants of Germany have come together and decided that the best way to develop the potential of diesel in the U.S. is total market dominance. Not with one vehicle, but with one engine.

In conjunction with Honda's efforts towards bringing a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle to the States in 2008, plans are well underway to do the same thing for diesels that the automaker did for cleaner gasoline engines in the 70s.

While DaimlerChrysler announced at the start of this year it would be introducing its E320 BLUETEC with clean diesel technology as a 50-state vehicle, the car will be hitting showrooms as a 45-state compliant car. BLUETEC, DaimlerChrysler's aftertreatment system promises to meet the upcoming EPA Tier 2 Bin 5 emissions, which would make it 50-state compliant. However, to meet these tough new standards, a urea selective catalytic reduction system is needed. The 45-state version of the Mercedes E32

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