Experiments on a large number of soluble fuel additives were systematically conducted for diesel soot reduction. It was found that Ca and Ba were the most effective soot suppressors. The main determinants of soot reduction were: the metal mol-content of the fuel, the excess air factor, and the gas turbulence in the combustion chamber. The soot reduction ratio was expressed by an exponential function of the metal mol-content in the fuel, depending on the metal but independent of the metal compound. A rise in excess air factor or gas turbulence increased the value of a coefficient in the function, resulting in larger reductions in soot with the fuel additives.High-speed soot sampling from the cylinder showed that with the metal additive, the soot concentration in the combustion chamber was substantially reduced during the whole period of combustion. It is thought that the additive acts as a catalyst not only to improve soot oxidation but also to suppress soot formation. Furthermore, the additives resulted in decreased ignition temperatures and enhanced oxidation of the additive-containing soot.