Why Smog is No Longer Such an Issue, Even With More Diesel-Powered Vehicles Around

Many companies today own and rely upon fleets comprising dozens or even hundreds of vehicles. In quite a few cases, all or most of these important assets will be powered by engines that consume diesel fuel.

Diesel is an especially economical type of fuel, as it produces more power for a given investment than more refined alternatives like gasoline. Properly designed, tuned, and maintained, diesel power plants can also have environmentally friendly footprints, particularly in terms of their carbon dioxide emissions relative to other types of internal combustion engines.

One notable weakness of diesel engines by default, however, is a tendency to produce a lot of nitrogen oxide. Although this substance does not contribute to the warming effect associated with the buildup of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, it can cause a wide range of more localized problems. In particular, too much generation of nitrogen oxide in an area is the single most potent cause of smog, a phenomenon that can be both unpleasant and dangerous.

An Effective Solution to a Significant Problem

Many cities in the United States and elsewhere used to suffer chronically from smog, in fact, but that issue has been mostly overcome. One of the most important steps that was taken along the way was the introduction of technology that limits the amount of nitrogen oxide diesel engines produce.

When not equipped with such a system, a diesel engine that is tuned to run with relatively lean fuel-to-air ratios will produce quite a bit of this undesirable substance. Because this style of operation is key to keeping carbon oxide emissions down, however, simply enriching the charge fed to each cylinder would not be an acceptable alternative.

Instead, many engines today are now equipped with systems that inject a specially formulated liquid into the exhaust stream. The volatile urea contained in this diesel exhaust fluid breaks down nitrogen oxide into harmless constituents that can be exhausted without worry about causing smog or other problems.

An Important Duty to Keep Up With

Given the effectiveness of this approach and the value of the results it enables, it should not be surprising that laws and regulations in many areas now mandate its adoption. As a result, businesses that operate diesel-powered fleets will typically need to make and maintain associated arrangements.