New tractor emission standards beneficial in more ways than one - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

New tractor emission standards beneficial in more ways than one

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Emission standards have changed how cars are made, and now they're heading for farms. New regulations from the environmental protection agency will reduce pollution from diesel engines. Tractors made under these new standards should be beneficial in more ways than one.

Big green tractors, like this John Deere model, are going green.

"This tractor here, if we were to start it indoors, there'd be a noticeable smell of diesel exhaust that's burning," says Tractor Central Sales Manager Kevin Schaefer.

New tractors that come into tractor central in Eau Claire, and any other dealer in the country, have to meet strict emission standards from the environmental protection agency.

"I've been around the new tractors, and quite honestly, you can barely detect a hint of diesel exhaust in an enclosed building. It's quite amazing," says Schaefer.

Newer exhaust valves added to the tractors are aimed at reducing pollution caused by these diesel engines.

"There's no puff of smoke at all that comes out, it's very clean, it sounds just like a good old diesel tractor sounds, but not the big puff of smoke like the old tractors," says Schaefer.

The DNR says the rules are a step in the right direction, but the transition won't happen overnight.

"This is just like any other new regulatory program, that it takes time for the fleet to turn over, so there is going to take this time until we really receive the whole benefits of this program," says Mike Friedlander, with the DNR Air Management.

The benefits may be worth the wait.

"We've seen some figures that say for every ton of particulate matter that is reduced, we save over $109,000 in public health benefits associated with decreased asthma attacks, decreased morbidity and mortality," says Friedlander.

And Kevin at tractor central says the new machines will cost more, but doesn't expect that the new regulation will hurt business.

"They've gone up just a few percent, but John Deere also increased the horsepower by about five percent, so really, it's about a net wash," says Schaefer.

The EPA estimates all tractors will be upgraded with the new engines by the year 2030. John Deere started rolling out the new tractors yesterday.  They should hit stores here in the Chippewa Valley this spring.

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