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    GM Fighting Environmental Regulations

    U.S. auto maker seeks to weaken air and diesel restrictions.

    General Motors Corp. is preparing a push to loosen the nation's clean-air rules to allow wider use of diesel engines as fuel-saving alternatives to gasoline truck engines, the Wall Street Journal reported.

    The preparation follows General Motor's victory in the first round of its fight to stave off significantly tougher federal fuel-economy standards, the paper said.

    General Motors, the world's largest auto maker, is taking its pro-diesel campaign public with a report issued by the Diesel Technology Forum, a trade group based in Herndon, Va., the newspaper said.

    GM is the only car maker in the Diesel Technology Forum, which includes Irving, Texas-based oil company Exxon Mobil Corp., according to the newspaper.

    Diesel engines can get at least 30-percent better fuel economy than comparable-sized gasoline engines, the Journal reported. The Diesel Technology report says new clean-air rules in the United States "constitute a significant challenge for the future of diesel vehicles in America."

    GM officials say they hope to persuade government officials to revisit those regulations, set to take effect starting in 2004, the newspaper said.

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