Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Urea or Myea?

It's an absolutely stupid and corny title, but it was all I could think of on the spur of the moment. The picture here is of urea in a powder form. Urea when mixed with diesel exhaust breaks it down into nitrogen and water. Several manufacturers wish to implement their diesel exhaust pipes with urea sprays. This will in turn enable diesel engines to meet the exhaust emission requirements of the US, which are the strictest in the world and hinder car companies from introducing en masse diesel cars. The EPA is worried that urea sprays will break down, and the diesel engines will pollute.

It's an important issue, but it is one that the government needs to deal with. In many European countries, cars must undergo rigorous road worthiness tests, that involve pollution checks and the like. It's something that should be done in this country as well. Yes it seems as an impingement on freedoms, but my ability to breathe air is regularly impinged upon as well. A smog check could also add a urea check, and this could be an additional source of revenue for state governments.

Another worry is that car companies have not established suitable urea sales infrastructure around the country in order to replace and refill cars. My take on this is that if urea can be charged to customers, then car companies will bend over backward to get this chemical to market. Now along with engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, gasoline, antifreeze, and that worthless soap that goes into the windshield spray, car companies and their respective dealerships will have yet another chemical to charge customers with.

Urea should be allowed into the country if the EPA finds that it does in itself cause pollution, and if it really is an effective way of dealing with diesel exhaust emissions. Never before have car companies made a system that sprays into the exhaust, so this is new technology that will undoubtedly have some bumps before being perfected. But with fuel prices increasing steadily, and many not able to afford expensive hybrids, this could be the solution needed to bring diesels onto the market and not retract emission restrictions. The US needs efficient cars, and it needs them now.

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