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Diesel Cleans Up

By Benjamin Tice Smith, Business 2.0 Magazine

(Business 2.0 Magazine) -- With gas prices still high, it's a great time to sell drivers on the only widely available alternative. Diesel cars are 20 to 30 percent more fuel-efficient than regular autos. Trouble is, they spew much more nitrogen oxide, the main cause of smog.

But now DaimlerChrysler (Charts) has found a chemical to clean up diesel's act - and it's as near as your next bathroom break. Urea, a waste product the body excretes in urine, neutralizes nitrogen oxide. The auto giant's AdBlue system, already used in European trucks and featured in a prototype version of the Mercedes GL-320, sprays a fine mist of odorless urea on diesel exhausts.

That puts DaimlerChrysler in the driver's seat of the U.S. diesel car market, which J.D. Power predicts will quadruple by 2015 - especially since tough new smog standards kick in next year.

It eventually would have to build a supply network for urea, which drivers need to top off every 10,000 miles. Too bad they can't simply add their own.  Top of page

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