Clean diesel rolls Christmas tree to D.C.

The Capitol Christmas Tree has rumbled its way into Washington on clean diesel, advocates of the fuel pointed out Monday.

“No other energy source or fuel could have provided the combination of power, efficiency, fuel availability and near-zero emissions that this advanced clean diesel truck provided,” said Allen Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum, in a statement.

Diesel supporters have been on the offensive to promote continued use of the fuel as cheap natural gas has begun to present a rival option for the heaviest fuel users.

New high-horsepower engines made for natural gas, along with growing refueling infrastructure for long-haul trucks, are expected to turn some former diesel devotees into natural gas converts.

The diesel-powered long-haul truck used to move the 65-foot Englemann spruce tree from Colorado to the District of Columbia traveled 5,012 miles from White River National Forest, the diesel advocacy group said.

It was driven by former U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, of Colorado, on a 28-city tour before arriving in Washington Monday.

The tree, which will be decorated with 5,000 ornaments, will be lit in a ceremony on Dec. 4. It was not clear what would be used to power decorative lighting.

“These new technology clean diesel trucks are not only near zero emissions but also are more energy efficient, and are proven to use 5 to 8 percent less fuel than previous generation of diesel technology, which means lower emissions of CO2 and lower fuel costs to truckers,” Schaeffer said.