Diesel Boondoggle of the Day: $103,297 to Clean-up 30 Vehicles

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Justin called it. Yesterday, after GM Car Czar Bob Lutz diss-missed diesels, the TTAC scribe suggested that the feds would "intercede" to lower diesel pump prices and promote oil burners. And here we are, with news that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 has blessed the Cook County, (IL) Department of Environmental Control with a $103,297 grant to cut diesel emissions from 30 county vehicles. Yes, that's $3,443.23 of your hard-earned tax money per vehicle to retrofit 26 vehicles with diesel oxidation catalysts and four vehicles with diesel particulate filters. Oblivious to local climatology, Regional Administrator Mary A. Gade is in no doubt that we're all winners with this payout. "Reducing these emissions will help us all breathe cleaner air and live healthier lives." Oh, and in case you thought this is a one-time deal, the grant's part of the Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative which has "invested" $81m in cleaning-up diesel vehicles– so far. (They're practically begging for proposals to shell-out more tax bucks for diesel fans.) So, if that's just the Midwest…

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Night driver Night driver on Mar 25, 2008

    As boondoggles go, it could be worse. It appears these grants are for buses -- buses have long operating hours and long lifespans, and $3K per bus for a retrofit is much cheaper than buying brand new buses with cleaner engines.

  • Friedclams Friedclams on Mar 25, 2008

    If the vehicles involved are buses (which is unclear), $3K per bus is a bargain. (Especially compared to the alternative stated in the link: "Vehicle/Equipment Replacement – EPA Region 5 will fund up to 25% of the cost of a new vehicle or piece of equipment." New buses = $300k x .25 = $75K > $3K.) Again, assuming these are buses and not DPW pickup trucks, I think this is a reasonable attempt to mitigate pollution, which is clearly in the EPA's purview. I don't see this as an attempt to champion diesel in the marketplace. If the EPA was bankrolling new retail diesel fueling stations in Cook County that would be different.

  • Jaje Jaje on Mar 25, 2008

    I'm not sure why a diesel bus is a "boondoggle" - they save thousands of gallons and dollars a year on gas savings and paying $3k to retrofit them to be cleaner is in now way a boondoggle. Yes they smoke and soot - b/c gov't regulations couldn't care less - but the technology is changing quickly and it's on our doorstep for clean diesels and 50 state legal status. I think TTAC has it out for diesels. I'm not sure why b/c it's a proven technology, it's here and it helps converve oil faster / cheaper better than hybrids, solar, fuel cells, EVs, etc. Why the hate?

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Mar 25, 2008

    Jaje, As a diesel proponent, I have to defend TTAC. Their level of skepticism on the growth of diesels is not unreasonable at all. We will be found right though. Just be patient.