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December 31, 2018   |   The Cap Times


Allen Schaeffer: Diesel buses are a clean choice for Madison

Dear Editor: Actually, contrary to an assertion in a recent letter to the editor, the city of Madison’s approach to bus purchases — replacing older buses with new diesel buses — IS a smart choice to reduce emissions including greenhouse gas emissions.

First, new clean diesel buses are near-zero in emissions; the next-generation diesel platform will be even closer to zero, as manufacturers are hard at work developing even cleaner diesel engines. Second, diesel buses can hardly be called “obsolete” — 94 percent of Wisconsin’s nearly 2,000 transit buses rely on diesel technology to this day. (By the way, 41 percent of these already use the newest, cleanest diesel engines.) Third, new near-zero clean diesel buses come with a price tag that is far cheaper than any all-electric model, and they don’t require even more expensive charging infrastructure investments.

Choosing the clean diesel option for the city of Madison’s next buses means many more older and higher-emitting buses can be replaced — which ultimately means more clean air for Madison’s residents than just a few token all-electric option could provide.

Plus, investing in infrastructure to support all types of the city’s new buses is also smart planning. After all, 2035 is still more than 15 years away, and new diesel buses have an expected service life of 12 to 15 years.

Allen Schaeffer

executive director, Diesel Technology Forum

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