Modern, clean-burning diesel engines have managed to dislodge many Americans’ dark memories of smoky, noisy oil burners from 30 years ago. And yet, diesels remain a small part of the U.S. vehicle fleet.
That may change after University of California-Riverside researchers, funded by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, determined commercially cooked hamburgers emit more particulate matter than heavy-duty diesel trucks.
An 18-wheeler would have to drive 143 miles (230 km) on the freeway to generate as many particulate emissions as one 1/3-lb. (0.15-kg) flame-broiled hamburger patty. The story went viral after a report by CBS-TV Los Angeles.