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US2007 diesel emission standards and fuel rule upheld in court

7 May 2002

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), upholding its 2007 emission standards for heavy duty diesel truck and bus engines and the ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD) regulation. The rule was challenged by a number of parties, including fuel refiners (National Petrochemical & Refiners Association), engine manufacturers (including Cummins), and automobile makers.

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The petitioners complained that the EPA acted “arbitrarily and capriciously” in setting the 2007 rule. In particular, the industry groups claimed that the advanced emission control technology needed for meeting the standards would not be available and that the sulfur cap of 15 ppm required by the rule was not needed to enable this technology and that it would result in supply shortfalls of diesel fuel.

The court rejected all arguments raised by the petitioners, thus fully supporting the EPA stand that the regulations are technologically feasible. The ruling was applauded by the EPA, the Department of Justice, emission control manufacturers, and by environmentalists. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said the ULSD will make it possible to introduce diesel fueled light-duty vehicles in the US market.

Beginning with model year 2007, emissions from new heavy-duty diesel truck and bus engines will be reduced by more than 90%. Sulfur in diesel fuel must be lowered to enable modern pollution control technology to be effective on these engines. The regulation requires a 97% reduction in the sulfur content of highway diesel fuel from its current level of 500 ppm to 15 ppm.

Source: US EPA