Diesel emissions, especially diesel particulate matter, can cause serious health effects—from worsening asthma to an increased risk of cancer. Fortunately, there are several techniques and technologies, ranging in cost, that reduce diesel emissions. Using biodiesel or renewable diesel blends as a replacement for conventional diesel fuel is a good first step to reducing diesel emissions.
Alternative fuels can either replace diesel fuel entirely or be blended with diesel fuel, like biodiesel. Some fuels must be used in particular vehicles. Natural gas, for instance, can only be used in vehicles specifically designed to run on that fuel.
There are benefits and disadvantages to all fuels. Some fuels, such as compressed natural gas, may provide tremendous environmental benefit; however, current limitations include power, vehicle range and lack of infrastructure. Using alternative fuels as a sole strategy is not likely to be sufficient to meet transport fuel demands, or to address air quality needs. As an air quality strategy, cleaner fuels need to be part of a mix of strategies, including combining cleaner fuels with advanced exhaust controls.
Oregon Clean Fuels Program
Launched in 2016, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality's Clean Fuels Program is designed to reduce the carbon footprint associated with the transportation of Oregonians. It does this by estimating the amount of greenhouse gases created during the life cycle (i.e., the production, processing, transportation and consumption) of fuels used in Oregon. Clean fuels have lower carbon emissions or carbon intensity compared to gasoline and diesel, which help mitigate climate change, improve air quality and public health. The Clean Fuels Program aims to encourage the use of cleaner fuels, such as electricity, ethanol, biodiesel, renewable diesel and renewable natural gas, by providing incentives and requirements to create demand for cleaner fuels in the marketplace.