Diesel: On the toxic trail of devil’s engine
That diesel emissions are harmful and toxic is an old story. But even after 20 year of global action to clean diesel up, it is still throwing up new and more difficult challenges; and that is an unfolding story. US, Europe and Japan have made emissions targets stringent, but diesel vehicles are struggling to lower emissions. Consequently, cities all over the world are beginning to restrict diesel cars to protect the environment, perhaps signalling the death of diesel. There are valuable lessons for India in this. While misuse of fuel tax policy to keep diesel prices cheap has led to massive dieselization of the car segment, rapid expansion in road-based freight has exploded truck traffic on highways that contribute enormously to pollution in densely populated habitations with serious public health consequences.