As the US economic recovery continues to move forward, new clean diesel technology is powering America’s freight movement in the most environmentally friendly manner anywhere in the world, according to Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum.
“Over the last 10 years, emissions from heavy-duty diesel trucks and buses have been reduced by 99% for nitrogen oxides (NOx)—an ozone precursor—and 98% for particulate emissions,” Schaeffer said. “Consider that it would take 60 of today’s clean diesel trucks to equal the same emissions from one pre-1988 truck.
“In addition, the new ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel that has been required since 2010 has reduced sulfur emissions by 97%—from 500 pm to 15 pm,” he said.
“These historic environmental improvements take an even more important significance when you consider that over 80% of all freight in the United States is moved by diesel-powered trucks, railroads, and marine vessels,” Schaeffer said.
In August 2011, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) established a national program to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and establish new fuel efficiency standards for commercial trucks and buses beginning in 2014 through 2018.
“Because of the sheer magnitude of commercial vehicles operating in the United States, this regulation has the potential to result in significant environmental and energy efficiency gains,” Schaeffer said. “The US fleet of trucks consumes about 22 billion gallons of diesel fuel every year. Over the lifetime of the vehicles affected by the new rule, the program is expected to reduce oil consumption by more than 500 million barrels, result in more than $50 billion in net benefits, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 250 million metric tons.
Schaeffer said the new technology has also provided increased efficiency in conjunction with the decrease in emissions. Diesel vehicles manufactured after 2010 are experiencing an average 5% improvement in fuel efficiency.
The new diesel technology is not just benefiting new trucks and engines.
“Through the use of new equipment, older diesel engines can improve their performance and reduce key emissions by up to 90%,” Schaeffer said. “With an estimated 11 million older diesel engines still in operation, it’s vital the federal, state, and local governments continue programs like the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act to modernize and upgrade the older buses, trucks, tractors, and marine vessels.”
For more information, visit www.dieselforum.org.