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June 03, 2019   |   Diesel Technology Forum

Policy Insider

What Technology is at Work Today Protecting Lives and Property?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting a normal hurricane and wildfire season. That does not mean all will be well. Just one storm or wildfire threatens lives and property. A ready and available technology deployed across the country in almost every community is primed to protect and rebuild.

This year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting a normal Atlantic hurricane season with about a dozen named storms and two to four major hurricanes. With above-normal winter precipitation, most Western states should be in the clear for wildfires… except if you live in the Pacific Northwest or desert Southwest. High temperatures and below-normal winter rainfall make these locations a hot spot for summertime wildfires. All it takes is just one major hurricane to make landfall or one wildfire out west to cause billions on damage. 2018 was an average year for hurricanes with two major hurricanes making landfall, but with more than 80 million people now living in hurricane-prone regions along the Atlantic seaboard, those two storms caused more than $150 billion in damage.

A tried-and-true technology is ready and able today to help better prepare for and recover from these events: diesel.

Diesel technology is on hand to deliver supplies, rebuild critical infrastructure and provide essential services including electricity. Diesel generators are an essential component to any recovery effort. These generators and diesel fuel are mobile and may be delivered to the most remote locations to help provide power to hospitals and other mission-critical facilities. Stationary diesel emergency generators are one of only a few technologies capable of providing full load capacity to these facilities when the power goes out. 

Diesel engines and fuel are the prime choice for manufacturers of off-road equipment. Whether it is removing debris, positioning sandbags or strengthening levies, diesel-powered off-road equipment is a lifesaver for communities preparing for a disaster or recovering from one. While alternatives and emerging technologies exist, nothing matches the energy density of diesel fuel nor the omnipresence of diesel refueling locations.

Ninety-eight percent of large over-the-road trucks and first-responder vehicles are also powered by diesel technology. Thanks to diesel’s energy density, more material, food and life-saving supplies may be delivered by a gallon of diesel fuel. Put another way, a full tank of diesel fuel on a loaded Class 8 truck can deliver these supplies within a 1,500-mile radius. No other alternative or emerging technology has the superior range performance of this diesel truck. Truck and engine manufacturers are hard at work improving the already efficient diesel powertrain to further extend this range.

While 2019 may see an average number of major hurricanes or wildfires, it takes just one major storm to make landfall or one large wildfire to threaten lives and property. Diesel technology is a trusted partner and one that stands ready to help communities prepare in advance for severe weather events and recover quickly if they do hit.


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Ezra Finkin
Director, Policy

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