With gasoline over $3.00 per gallon, automobile manufacturers are trying to figure out how to let Americans have their cake, and eat it too. We want luxury, safety, and of course, fuel efficiency. Honda, Ford, Lexus, GM and Toyota have hybrid engines that run on both gasoline and electricity. Mercedes, BMW and Volkswagen, on the other hand, increase fuel economy using diesel engines. Most trucks are available with diesel engines.
Diesel exhaust particles (DEPs) are terrible for people with allergies and asthma; they even raise the allergic antibody (IgE) levels in people who do not even have allergies. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), diesel exhaust particles may be the component of air pollution most responsible for the huge increase in allergies throughout the western world. The exhaust that these soot-filled tailpipes release into your lungs make the immune system produce chemicals, called cytokines, which worsen allergic inflammation. In all fairness, the new Mercedes, VW and BMW diesels have much cleaner as emission-control technologies than they did several years back. However, the cover article from the Febuary, 2005 Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology shows diesel fumes driving production of IgE, the allergic antibody. And diesel pick-up trucks still use the older, dirtier diesel engines.
Granted, diesels produce fewer greenhouse gases and are more fuel efficient than their gasoline counterparts. But if you have allergies or asthma, consider a gasoline hybrid before a diesel.
Note: Information contained in this article should not be considered a substitute for consultation with a board-certified allergist to address individual medical needs.