New rules issued on Thursday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires oil refineries to begin making ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD), “a fuel with 97 percent less sulfur than ordinary diesel,” which will cut smog-forming emissions by 10 percent.

“The new EPA rule “is the biggest step toward cutting vehicle pollution since lead was taken out of gasoline two decades ago,” says Richard Kassel, director of the Clean Fuels and Vehicles Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council,” reports the CS Monitor.

“80 percent of the diesel produced for highway use (must) be ULSD-compliant… By October, all filling stations now selling diesel will be required to sell ULSD instead of or in addition to diesel.”

This is only the first step to cleaner diesel for U.S. manufactures — and less smog flowing from tailpipes of buses, trucks and cars. A transformation to an all-new clean-diesel engine has been mandated to replace sales of older, dirtier models by 2008 — this, despite heavy lobbying efforts by Mac and other truck engine makers.

The new rules will have far-reaching implications for people’s health because of the cleaner air, but also for their pocketbooks. The new cleaner burning engines get 20 to 40 percent better mileage per gallon.

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