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July 24, 2018   |   Diesel Technology Forum

Policy Insider

Alternative Sources of Energy Just Can’t Keep up With Diesel

By 2040, developing economies will be the primary consumers of energy as these rapidly expanding economies use diesel to fuel their growth.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), economies in Asia will be the dominant consumers of energy out to 2040. These rapidly expanding economies will need energy to fuel their growth and diesel fuel will be a prime mover of many of these expanding business sectors.

The U.S. EIA is out with its international energy forecast that predicts, by 2040, developing economies will be the primary consumers of energy. 64 percent of energy stocks will be consumed in developing economies with the overwhelming majority consumed throughout Asia and India. When it comes to fueling economic growth, liquid fuels including diesel fuel, will get the job done. According to the report, renewable sources of energy throughout the world are certainly on the rise. By 2040, liquid fuels like gasoline and diesel, will still be the prime movers by 2 to 1 over renewables.

There is a reason for this. Liquid fuels like diesel and gasoline are very energy dense. Diesel fuel is the most energy dense transportation fuel and the diesel engine is the most efficient means of transferring energy density into power. More goods can be delivered and more work performed on a gallon of diesel fuel than any other transportation fuel or source of energy. 

Energy Density Graph

As economies expand, a fleet of trucks, trains and vessels are needed to deliver products to expanding markets at home and growing demand from overseas. Rising economic growth means expanding demands on infrastructure like roads, bridges, and ports as well as fixed investments like factories.  Expanding the built environment takes a fleet of specialized equipment to get the job done. Again, much of this equipment will be powered by diesel thanks to diesel’s unmatched energy density, ease of delivery to remote locations and widespread availability.

Rising economic growth in developing economies also means expanding prosperity and access to the latest diesel technologies. For more than a decade, developed economies have had access to cleaner fuels that allows for near-zero emissions technology to reduce emissions from diesel-powered vehicles and equipment. For example, a clean diesel truck can reduce 2.3 tons of ozone forming compounds in a single year relative to previous generations of technology. Technologies to reduce emissions to near-zero levels are also developed for off-road equipment like construction and agricultural equipment and much larger applications like marine vessels and locomotives. 

Booming economies in Asia and India are expected to look to liquid fuels to power their growth.  When it comes to moving people, products and getting work done, nothing beats the power of diesel. Rising prosperity means access to cleaner fuels and the latest near-zero emissions diesel technology.  Expanding economic growth and reliance on liquid fuels like diesel can also mean access to near-zero emissions technology to help reduce emissions and protect air quality. 


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Ezra Finkin
Director, Policy

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