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Taras Grescoe,  author of “Straphanger: Saving Our Cities and Ourselves From the Automobile,” writes about the dangerous impact and levels of pollution produced by diesel exhaust. ‘Clean diesel’ is an “oxymoron” that has led many countries, especially in Europe where “55% of all new vehicle registrations are for diesel cars” to scramble and undo the damage…”

As scandals go, it was a juicy one. Volkswagen, one of the world’s highest grossing automakers, persuaded consumers it had created a new generation of so-called clean diesel cars — until investigators discovered that defeat devices, which activated emissions controls only when the cars were tested, were concealing the fact that its vehicles emitted up to 40 times the permitted levels of pollutants during regular use…”

“…Diesel exhaust is laden with insidious soot particles, the so-called PM 2.5 (particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns, or one-thirtieth the width of a human hair), which allow carcinogens to penetrate deep into tissues and organs. In other words, a driver who steps on the accelerator of a diesel car may be filling the lungs of nearby pedestrians, cyclists, infants in strollers and other drivers with potentially deadly particulate matter…”

The New York Times. Read the full column on

The Dirty Truth about ‘Clean Diesel’