The 65-foot white fir Christmas tree that will be illuminated at the base of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. this Christmas season, has begun its 4,500-mile trek from the Stanislaus National Forest in northern California en route to the nation’s capital.

The tree’s journey, which is under the supervision of the U.S. Forest Service, began Saturday, Nov. 5 in the Stanislaus National Forest and will arrive in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 28. The official lighting ceremony at the U.S. Capitol will be Dec. 6, hosted by Speaker of the House John Boehner.  A seven year old Sonoma, Calif., boy will officially light the tree, which is to be decorated with 10,000 lights and 3,000 ornaments.

The Diesel Technology Forum is one of the national sponsors of the U.S. Christmas Tree Tour and will provide daily Twitter and Facebook updates on its expedition across the country.  Other sponsors also include DTF members Volvo Powertrain, Mack Trucks and Robert Bosch LLC, Diesel Systems North America.

Capitol Christmas Tree Expedition A Showcase of Clean Diesel Technology

“The Mack Truck transporting the tree across the country is a showcase of clean diesel technology, one of the many pieces of modern diesel technology that will play a role in getting ‘The People's Tree’ to our nation’s capital,” said Allen Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum.

"From the diesel-powered crane that placed the tree in the clean diesel truck that will transport it across the country using ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, clean diesel technology plays a critical role in this holiday project as it does in the daily lives of all Americans.  In addition, diesel-powered backup generators will provide power for the 12 ceremonies in communities along the journey designed to help celebrate this national event.”

The truck is a SmartWay-certified Pinnacle Axle Back model sleeper that meets California's 2010 emission standards, which are the strictest in the country.

"The emissions from this truck are near zero, thanks to its more efficient engine and its new emissions control technology,” Schaeffer said. “It's as clean as a compressed natural gas truck."

He added that the nationwide availability of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel gives the U.S. Forest Service great flexibility in choosing its routes across the country, compared with the limited availability of other fuel sources.

As sponsors of the tour, the Diesel Technology Forum, Volvo Group, Mack Trucks and Robert Bosch LLC Diesel Systems North America, are among several major sponsors whose logos are printed on the 54-foot banner that surrounds the cargo trailer that carries the 65-foot tree.

“We couldn’t do the tour without their support,” said Maria Benech, the 2011 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree coordinator.