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October 23, 2019   |

Press Release

New Generation of Diesel Power in Locomotives, Ships, Commercial Trucks and Buses Delivering Major Climate and Clean Air Benefits

Response to House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change Hearing “Building a 100 Percent Clean Economy: Solutions for Planes, Trains and Everything Beyond Automobiles

October 23, 2019 (WASHINGTON) – The following is a statement from Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, in response to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change Hearing “Building a 100 Percent Clean Economy: Solutions for Planes, Trains and Everything Beyond Automobiles.” The Diesel Technology Forum is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and the latest generations of advanced diesel technologies and fuels.

“Thanks to increasing efficiency, lower emissions and suitability for using low-carbon renewable biofuels, the newest generation of diesel technology is already delivering significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in commercial trucks to marine and locomotive applications. These real-world benefits are helping ports, cities, communities and the entire goods movement system meet climate and clean air challenges of today and tomorrow.

“Decarbonizing the transportation sector is complex and does not have a one-size fits all solution, particularly in the goods movement sector which relies predominately on diesel engines ranging from less than 100 hp in smaller trucks up to 110,000 hp in ocean-going vessels. As it explores the potential for decarbonizing the transportation sector, the Subcommittee will no doubt be interested in hearing about electric, fuel cell and other alternative fuels. Yet, it is also essential to recognize the current and future contributions of diesel to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as any transition to new fuels and technologies is likely to take considerable time to reach commercial scale and market acceptance.

Technologies like diesel coupled with the use of advanced renewable biofuels are delivering proven and substantial greenhouse gas reductions now, with more to come. These contributions cannot be ignored.

“Across the board, today’s generation of advanced diesel technologies are more energy efficient and lower in emissions than previous generations, and remain the technology of choice in key sectors like commercial trucking, marine and locomotive applications. Coupled with growing success using advanced renewable bio-based fuels, diesel engines are well-positioned now and contributing already to low-carbon goods movement in America.

“Today, diesel remains the dominant technology in long-haul trucking, powering 97 percent of Class 8 big-rig trucks in the United States. A growing percentage of diesel-powered commercial trucks rely on the newest-generation diesel technologies, which deliver near-zero emissions performance while using less fuel: Consider that today, more than 43 percent of commercial Class 3-8 vehicles are of this newest-generation technology (2011 and newer model years), up by 6.8 percent over 2017. Since 2011, these more than 4.9 million new-generation commercial diesel trucks have already delivered reductions of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide (CO2)) in an amount equivalent to eliminating 26 million light duty vehicles from the fleet or converting those to all electric vehicles: the use of new-generation diesel trucks has removed more than 26 million tonnes of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 59 million tonnes of CO2, compared to previous generations.

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimate that the Commercial Vehicle Fuel Economy and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Standards Phase 1 rules saved 270 million tons CO2 and 530 million barrels of oil between 2014 and 2018, and that the Phase 2 rules will save another 1 billion tons of CO2 and nearly 2 billion barrels of oil between 2021 and 2027. Research commissioned by the Diesel Technology Forum confirms that the majority of these significant benefits will be delivered by more efficient diesel trucks.

“New diesel trucks are so clean that it would take more than 60 new-generation diesel trucks to equal the emissions from one truck sold in 1988. Even further progress for lower emissions is on the horizon, as truck and engine manufacturers are engaged with the U.S. EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) on the Clean Truck Initiative, developing tomorrow’s generation of diesel engines. From coupling with hybrid-electric technology and battery-storage systems, to pushing thermal efficiency boundaries, to advanced waste-heat recovery systems, to utilizing high-quality advanced renewable biodiesel fuels, new-generation advanced diesel technology is uniquely suited to enable commercial trucking to contribute to our sustainable future.

Low-Carbon Advanced Renewable Biodiesel Fuels are a Proven Climate Solution Today

“Even though battery-electric technologies get most of the headlines, it is diesel engines in commercial trucks and buses using advanced bio-based diesel fuels that deliver the most greenhouse gas-reducing results. Look at California: in 2018, California’s use of biodiesel and renewable diesel fuels eliminated 4.3 million tons of CO2. Meanwhile, use of electric cars and trucks in the state resulted in only 1.2 million tons of CO2 reductions in 2018 – one third of the emissions reductions delivered by diesel engines using biodiesel fuels. Biodiesel’s contribution even exceeded the reductions delivered by ethanol. Since the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program began in 2011, biodiesel and renewable diesel fuel have eliminated more than 18 million tons of CO2, according to CARB.

“Today, 84 percent of transit buses are powered by diesel engines and fuel, or diesel hybrid engines. Of that, about 40 percent of diesel buses in operation are of the latest generation of clean diesel technology with near-zero emissions. Many cities have begun using the latest in diesel-hybrid technology that offers even greater efficiency advantages and lower CO2 emissions. A growing number of transit districts are incorporating the use of renewable biodiesel fuels into their diesel bus fleets, further improving their environmental and climate sensibilities. Additionally, new diesel engines in marine and locomotiveapplications since 2015 now achieve near zero emissions, while using less fuel and generating fewer emissions of greenhouse gases.

Continued Investment in the Future of Diesel

“Even as manufacturers explore other fuels and technology options, continued investments in diesel are strong indicators about the future for advanced diesel engines. Today, 13 states are home to heavy-duty diesel engine manufacturing, supporting $4 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 1.25 million American jobs. It is clear that diesel technologies are and will remain a key piece of America’s transportation and goods movement systems for decades to come."

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About The Diesel Technology Forum
The Diesel Technology Forum is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology. Forum members are leaders in clean diesel technology and represent the three key elements of the modern clean-diesel system: advanced engines, vehicles and equipment, cleaner diesel fuel and emissions-control systems. For more information visit https://www.dieselforum.org/.


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Media Inquiries:
Allen Schaeffer
Executive Director
(301) 668-7230

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