Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Greening alternative transit vehicles

The NY Times has a story about a contest to design a cleaner tuk tuk. Tuk tuks are common vehicles in many Asian cities. They typically have three wheels and a two-stroke engine. They are big time polluters for global and local air pollution. (Small engines such as those used in tuk tuks and lawn mowers pollute as much in an hour as a car does in 13. And GOP US Senators such as Kit Bond of Missouri have long blocked efforts to add catalytic converters to these engines in the US. Yet another case of federal involvement getting in the way of meaningful reform.)

Cleaning up the two-stroke engine would be a big step forward in cleaning the air of major cities. Even better, the technology needed to build clean tuk tuks or lawnmowers already exists and could be adopted relatively cheaply.

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