EPA Floors It For Fuel Rules

In an effort to standardize emission rules for on-road and off-road vehicles, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington D.C., has issued a diesel initiative forcing off-road vehicles to play catch up to their on-road cousins. The new regulations will target engine controls and diesel fuel.

According to the Washington, D.C.-based Diesel Technology Forum Executive Director Allen Schaeffer, diesel fuel currently contains 2,500 to 3,500 parts per million of sulfur. The EPA has mandated all diesel fuel contain 500 parts per million of sulfur by 2007. In 2010, diesel fuel is supposed to contain 15 parts per million, which will make off-road fuel equal to on-road diesel fuel. Other regulations require waste equipment manufacturers to develop cleaner burning engines and to add emission-control or treatment systems, such as particulate traps and catalytic converters.

“Landfill equipment often lasts for a long time,” Schaeffer says, “so the effects of a lower-polluting engine won't be accrued for a good many years. But landfill operators will all be using cleaner fuel over the next few years.”

The engine rules affect new technology, not existing equipment. Upgrades are not legislated.