You Can Take My Light-Duty Diesel Truck From My Cold, Dead Hands

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson
you can take my light duty diesel truck from my cold dead hands

You know the world is a bit upside-down when master wordsmith Jack Baruth spins a web so tight in favor of the EPA and CARB that even the Best and Brightest can’t see through it.

Jack makes a valid point today: light-duty trucks, especially those of the diesel variety, are often driven by people who don’t need the capability that those trucks provide. It’s those diesel pickups that spew tons of particulates and NOx into the atmosphere, both of which are harmful to human health. Goodbye, he says to the light-duty diesel truck, before we turn into Europe. Turbo-fed gasoline engines offer just as much torque as their diesel-powered brethren, he exclaims. There’s no need to buy an $80,000 phallus extender. What do you think of this twin-turbo V6 Raptor?

However, Mr. Baruth stopped just short of saying recreational use of light-duty diesel trucks should be outright banned, instead offering up a solution that’s analogous to gun control.

Let’s step back for a moment.

Yes, diesel is “dirtier” than gas. It may have gotten cleaner over the years, and by a fabulous degree, but it still creates pollutants entirely unique to diesel fuel itself.

Jack’s solution is simple: make it so difficult for people to acquire a tool that burns the fuel in question, diesel pickups in this case, that issues with burning diesel fuel are negated. Yet, he wants you to completely forget that light-duty trucks aren’t the only vehicles burning diesel fuel in America.

For starters, we have the other end of the truck spectrum: medium- and heavy-duty trucks. They come in many shapes and sizes, built for different purposes, and — depending on age — they emit varying levels of toxins that threaten public health. Common sense says the older the truck’s age, the more it pollutes. And, good or bad, these trucks are built to last.

According to IHS Automotive (via FleetDriver), “the average age for Class 4-8 vehicles was 12.5 years in 2007, that figure now stands at 14.7 years.” Of particular interest is the average age of Class 6 trucks — such as the GMC Top Kick and Ford F-650 — which is the class that does the most inner city travel in areas where smog is a serious concern. Those trucks had an average age of 20.9 years as of 2014. If you make them burn fuel in a cleaner manner today, you likely won’t see real benefits of that change before Mr. Baruth starts thinking about filing for social security.

Then there are industrial automotive vehicles, such as the ones you find in open-pit mines. And diesel-powered generators of all kinds, from those that produce electricity when the power goes out to, well, actual power stations.

Oh, and if you live in a northern clime, away from modern natural gas delivery infrastructure, chances are you’re burning diesel, too — home heating fuel is just a different color and is delivered to your door at a fraction of the cost of road diesel.

So, let’s get real: light-duty pickups driven by flat-brim hatted people are part of the problem, but the problem begins with the fuel itself.

Or, to put it another way, it’s not bro-dozers that kill people, it’s the fuel that goes in the bro-dozers that kills people.

If you give a man an unloaded gun and that man cannot find a source of ammunition, the man and the gun together are as harmful as the same man wielding a rock. The last time I checked, there are many rocks that can be picked up by humans in America, but not many people are stoned to death in America’s civilized society.

The same logic that applies to ammunition should, to a degree, also apply to vehicles that use diesel fuel: control the supply of the fuel itself and you can minimize its harm.

We can have a long, philosophical discussion about how regulation kills business and hampers the economy. We can also have a long, philosophical discussion about how regulation has saved millions of human lives over the years. Whatever you think of Darwinism, ensuring the continued existence of our species is generally a good idea.

As a parallel, the weed killer RoundUp is now illegal in many areas in North America. In Ontario, there was an 80-percent reduction in surface water pollutants because of it just one year later. The private sector came up with other compounds not as harmful to our environment, and us by extension. And yet Weed Man is the 10th-best franchise under $150,000 to own in America, according to Forbes.

So, instead of trying to license the tool beyond the reach of a casual enthusiast, I propose we limit the use of the fuel that’s actually causing the damage. Call it ammunition control for your car.

You want to continue to drive that Passat TDI? Go right ahead. Diesel is now $7/gallon to gasoline’s $2.99. Need a diesel-powered vehicle to get work done? Track it all and get a big, fat tax break at the end of the year. Medium- and heavy-duty truck manufacturers will scramble to make gasoline and natural gas-powered alternatives. Those with older trucks, seeing the additional outlay in purchasing diesel fuel, will ditch those vehicles in favor of cleaner, less expensive alternatives.

But at least give me the choice to drive a light-duty diesel truck, to spend as much as I can afford on that precious fuel, and to put as much money into public coffers as my budget will allow, all the while letting me enjoy that magical torque.

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  • Thegamper Thegamper on May 16, 2016

    Sign me up for anything that gets trucks off the road. I am not sure how the pickup truck became such a lifestyle vehicle choice of millions that have no use for them (with a disproportionate share of asshats to boot), but its out of control and needs to change. I think we need an ad campaign "Sweet truck man.....sorry to hear about your tiny d***" or..."hauling air like its nobody's business in one of the most densly populated areas of the country".

  • Laserwizard Laserwizard on May 16, 2016

    When a Gov't official lectures us that we don't need what we buy, it is time to take up arms and to make him/her look down the barrel of what our Founding Fathers told us is our right to have. Freedom of choice should never be given away so that we can make leftist swine Environazis happy.

  • Rna65689660 Late last September US 2 from St. Ignace, MI to Everett, WA.
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