Smokestack blues

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Updated Dec 14, 2009

In the trucking business, diesel stacks can come in many shapes and sizes –modified, chromed-up, hidden behind fairings, and all sorts of things. From the factory these days, though, they all share a common attribute — the gas coming out of them holds little resemblance to the sooty, particulate-laden belching commonly seen in all sorts of television broadcasts about coming green technology. Most recently, in a story about yet another start-up algae-biodiesel and alternative fuel producer on the News Hour With Jim Lehrer, an old jalopy of a cabover is pictured during a sort of montage about dirty technology, followed by your typical stack close-up, belching smoke.

Granted, I’ve seen some sooty old trucks going down the road lately, but those utilizing more recent technology are putting out exhaust that’s just as clean as visibly clean as any new auto.