October 26, 2012

Study finds charbroiled burgers produce more particulates than clean-diesel trucks

California researchers document success of emissions-reduction technology in heavy-duty trucks.

By DC Velocity Staff

Here's something to think about the next time you head out to the local burger joint: According to researchers at the University of California-Riverside, commercially cooked hamburgers emit more particulate matter than 2007-2010 model year clean-diesel trucks.

"An 18-wheeler diesel-engine truck would have to drive 143 miles on the freeway to put out the same mass of particulates as a single charbroiled hamburger patty," said Bill Welch, the principal engineer on the study, in a statement. The UC Riverside research was funded by the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

The research results certainly provided, er, food for thought. "I will say this is an extremely unusual comparison," said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Diesel Technology Forum, which has been publicizing the study results. "Generally, clean diesels are matched up against natural gas, hybrids, or electric vehicles for emissions ... tests. This is the first time we've gone head to head against fast food."

Schaeffer credits the trucks' strong showing to the shift to ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel (which became available in 2006) and adoption of advanced emissions-control devices. "Because of the investments in new technology, it now takes 60 of today's [high-technology] trucks to emit the same level of particulate matter emissions as one truck built in 1988," he said.

And if you're worried about the eco effects of firing up the backyard barbeque, relax. The study also found that grilling burgers produces fewer particulates than charbroiling.

Transportation Videos

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you're not already logged in, you will be asked to log in or register.

Subscribe to DC Velocity

Feedback: What did you think of this article? We'd like to hear from you. DC VELOCITY is committed to accuracy and clarity in the delivery of important and useful logistics and supply chain news and information. If you find anything in DC VELOCITY you feel is inaccurate or warrants further explanation, please ?Subject=Feedback - : Study finds charbroiled burgers produce more particulates than clean-diesel trucks">contact Chief Editor David Maloney. All comments are eligible for publication in the letters section of DC VELOCITY magazine. Please include you name and the name of the company or organization your work for.