What is Clean Diesel?


Share This Page

December 14, 2021   |   Diesel Technology Forum

Policy Insider

Why Very Good Is Better Than Perfect

Diesel is the primary power source for over 90 percent of the nation’s transit bus fleet because of its energy efficiency, reliability, durability and performance, as well as overall economical ownership and operation


Last week, President Biden visited the local transit agency in Kansas City, Missouri to promote his infrastructure plan and funding for electric school and transit buses. At these and other similar events around the country, much is being said about replacing diesel technology, but there is another side to the story.  

As President Biden and others in the Administration travel throughout the US speaking about the infrastructure plan and electric school and transit buses, much is being said about replacing diesel technology, but there is another side to the story.  

Diesel is the primary power source for over 90 percent of the nation’s transit bus fleet because of its energy efficiency, reliability, durability and performance, as well as overall economical ownership and operation. It so happens that Missouri ranks seventh nationwide for the number of new generation advanced diesel buses on the road today (55% statewide are near-zero emissions diesel). Transit buses manufactured beginning in 2010 must meet the latest US EPA emissions standards for near-zero emissions of particulate matter and NOx. Today's advanced engines, effective emissions controls and ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel combine to achieve near-zero emissions. 

The President’s policy, which has a strong focus on electrification, should recognize the decarbonization potential from all fuels and strategies. And in Missouri, advanced renewable biobased diesel fuels are a big deal. Missouri has 10 facilities that produce biodiesel, including the third-largest biodiesel production capacity in the US, which produced 253 million gallons of biodiesel last year, with 29 million gallons of biodiesel consumed last year in the state in everything from commercial trucks to transit buses. Using biodiesel and blends of advanced renewable biofuels is happening today in all kinds of existing diesel engines, vehicles and equipment without the need for new infrastructure or vehicles. Depending on feedstocks, advanced renewable biofuels can have up to an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions over petroleum-based fuels.

Sometimes in the effort to promote electrification, an incomplete story is told. For example, according to the Energy Information Administration, Missouri’s primary source for electricity is coal, followed by natural gas. This means that in the case of Missouri, and many other US states, electric transit and school buses will in fact be powered by electricity that is created from the burning of coal and natural gas.

Even as new fuels and technologies emerge, it is important to fully understand the emissions and other impacts from these alternatives. We should value carbon reductions in whatever form they come in. Solving climate change will not have one single solution that is perfect but many solutions that are very good, and some like advanced generation diesel are available and affordable now. Electric vehicles will be good for some but not all users and applications.  

Manufacturers of diesel engines, fuels and equipment are committed to and currently delivering products that are lower in greenhouse gas and other emissions, contributing to tackling the climate challenge. Today’s generation of advanced diesel technology is 98 percent lower in emissions than previous generations. Coupled with advancements in efficiency and the ability to utilized low-carbon renewable biodiesel fuels, diesel engines are delivering substantial carbon reductions today.

That is the rest of the story.



More

All News & Resources


Key Contact

Allen Schaeffer
Executive Director
aschaeffer@dieselforum.org
301-668-7230

More Policy Insider

Sign up for diesel direct

weekly analysis & commentary from the diesel technology forum