Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, issued the following statement commenting on today's milestone requiring that at least 80 percent of the diesel fuel refined in the United States for use by on-road vehicles be ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel, containing only 15 parts per million sulfur content: "Today is the beginning of a new generation of clean diesel technology, as the nation's refineries begin producing cleaner diesel fuel. Just as taking the lead out of gasoline in the 1970s enabled a new generation of emissions control technologies that made gasoline vehicles over 95 percent cleaner, so will removing the sulfur from diesel help usher in a new generation of clean diesel technology across all applications. "This new fuel will contain 97 percent less sulfur than today's diesel and will be available at retail facilities nationwide starting on October 15, 2006. Clean diesel fuel is critically important because sulfur tends to hamper the effectiveness of diesel exhaust-control devices, like lead once obstructed the catalytic converters on gasoline cars. "The advanced clean diesel system -- combining cleaner fuel, state-of-the- art engines and effective exhaust-control technology -- will play a leading role in helping cities and states meet strict new air quality goals set by the federal government. Clean diesel will ultimately bring emissions reductions across a range of applications, including: * Trucks and Buses -- New trucks and buses will be the first class of equipment to benefit from clean diesel. While today's trucks and buses already produce only one-eighth the tailpipe exhaust compared to those built in 1990, new engines will be even cleaner. It will take 60 trucks built in 2007 to equal the soot emissions of one truck sold in 1988. The EPA predicts that these new trucks -- once they fully replace the existing fleet -- will reduce emissions of smog-forming gases by 2.6 million tons each year and cut soot emissions by 110,000 tons annually. * Cars, Pickups and SUVs -- By 2009, both gasoline and diesel cars, pickups and SUVs -- regardless of fuel type and engine size -- will meet the same stringent emissions standards. In the coming years, consumers can expect to see more diesel options in showrooms and will ultimately benefit from diesel's greater fuel efficiency (typically 20 to 40 percent more miles per gallon than a comparable gasoline version). * Construction Machines and Farm Equipment -- Emissions reductions on the same magnitude as those occurring for trucks and buses in 2007 will be phased in for off-road construction and agricultural equipment later this decade. * The Existing Fleet -- Many of the same clean diesel technologies developed for new engines can be applied to some older vehicles and equipment. The nationwide availability of ultra-low sulfur fuel will help expand opportunities for these clean diesel retrofits.