February 27, 2014
The Hon. Thomas Petri, Chairman
Highways & Transit Subcommittee Highways & Transit Subcommittee
The Hon. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Ranking Member
Highways & Transit Subcommittee Highways & Transit Subcommittee
Dear Chairman Petri and Ranking Member Norton:
We would like to thank you for holding the hearing titled “Improving the Nation’s Highway Freight Network” and applaud your leadership by considering necessary policies to make sure that goods move efficiently across this country. An efficient goods movement industry and infrastructure is vital to economic prosperity.
By way of background, the Diesel Technology Forum is Maryland-based educational not-forprofit organization whose members include leaders in diesel engine, equipment and vehicle manufacturing including highway and infrastructure construction equipment.
We would like to take this opportunity to highlight the important emissions milestones achieved in the on- and off-road population of diesel vehicles and equipment in our goods movement and construction equipment sectors and highlight how these changes reduce emissions, improve air quality, and conserve fuel.
DIESEL IS THE LIFEBLOOD OF THE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM
The goods movement and construction industries almost exclusively operate on diesel fuel and engines. Unique attributes of diesel fuel make it the most energy dense transportation fuel surpassing gasoline and natural gas. The diesel engine is capable of transferring this energy density into power efficiently. This is why over 98% of heavy duty vehicles, trucks and equipment are powered by diesel.
Much of the freight traffic moves by way of trucks, trains, ships and barges which are powered almost exclusively by diesel. Public works projects needed to insure that this cargo moves efficiently through the freight network of roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, railroads, airports, seaports and inland waterways are constructed using equipment that is overwhelmingly powered by diesel engines and fuel.
DIESEL TECHNOLOGY NOW WITH NEAR ZERO EMISSIONS IS A KEY PLAYER IN THE NATION’S ENERGY FUTURE
The National Petroleum Council, International Energy Agency and ExxonMobil have all concluded that diesel will remain the predominant powertrain in heavy duty applications and the predominant global transportation powertrain in the future. Much attention has been granted to emerging fuels, such as natural gas. However, these groups all conclude that natural gas will not be able to compete with the diesel given the inherent efficiency of the diesel engine and the energy density of diesel fuel. Natural gas and other emerging fuels may find a place as a niche fuel in certain niche heavy duty applications such as refuse hauling and airport shuttles.
Thanks to the introduction and widespread availability of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel (ULSD) in 2006-2007, new engine and aftertreatment technologies significantly reduce many criteria pollutants including particulate matter (PM), or soot, and oxides of nitrogen (NOX), a smog forming pollutant. A truck manufactured in 2007 emits 98 percent less particulate matter and NOX relative to a truck manufactured in 1988. Thanks to these emission reduction technologies, the California Air Resources Board estimates that the heavy duty truck fleet in California will contribute far less PM than other sources including residential fuel consumption and road dust.
NEW TECHNOLOGY DIESEL ENGINES NOW MAKE UP NEARLY ONE-THIRD OF ALL TRUCKS, YIELDING SIGNIFICANT FUEL SAVINGS AND CLEAN AIR BENEFITS
Today, almost 33% of the heavy-duty vehicle fleet (Class 4-8) meets or exceeds 2007 EPA emissions standards covering over 2.86 million vehicles on the road today. Another 14.7%, or 1.29 million vehicles, meet or exceed the stricter 2010 standard. According to research commissioned by the Diesel Technology Forum, new technology diesel engines also contribute to greater fuel efficiency. The owner of a typical Class 8 heavy duty truck that meets the 2007 clean diesel standard will save $3,500 in fuel costs each year while conserving 21 barrels of crude oil, 875 gallons of fuel and eliminating 8.9 tonnes of CO2.
All Class 4-8 trucks on the road today deployed with new clean diesel engines save 13.3 million barrels of crude oil, 560 million gallons of fuel and eliminate 5.7 million tonnes of CO2.
Fuel savings and emissions reductions from the heavy duty fleet are expected to improve as equipment that complies with the first heavy duty fuel economy and greenhouse gas reduction requirements hit showrooms this year. Manufacturers are meeting these targets through continued advancements in engine and aftertreatment technologies along with advanced aerodynamics, transmission, tire and other technologies that improve fuel economy.
NEW TECHNOLGY CLEAN DIESEL ENGINES NOW IN CONSTRUCTION AND INDUSTRIAL EQUIPMENT
2014 is another milestone year for diesel beyond heavy duty trucks and vehicles. This year, new engines found in the most commonly used construction equipment at work on transportation projects, will have near-zero emissions for levels of NOx and particulate matter. Equipment and engine manufacturers are also deploying technologies to significantly improve fuel efficiency saving equipment owners fuel expenses while reducing carbon emissions. Several manufacturers are investing in exciting hybridization devices to meet Tier 4 standards. These include standard battery devices and even hybrid hydraulic systems. These hybrid technologies allow for a downsized engine to operate alongside a hybrid system to improve fuel economy.
DIESEL ENGINE AND EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURING IS AN ECONOMIC POWERHOUSE AND JOB CREATOR
These impressive emission reduction, engine and hybrid technologies are also a showcase of U.S. engineering and manufacturing expertise. Over 90% of the heavy duty truck fleet is manufactured in the U.S. One in every four engines manufactured in the U.S. is destined for overseas markets. $46.2 billion of diesel technology (engines, vehicles, equipment, parts and fuel) was exported representing 4.4% of total U.S. exports. In fact, diesel technology is heavily export oriented with an export-to-value five times higher than the national average. The manufacture of diesel technology helps sustain 1.25 million jobs and generates $186 billion in national income in 2009, the last year for which statistics are available.
Roughly one out of every two sectors of the economy is dependent on diesel engines and fuel. As mentioned earlier, it is the primary fuel and powertrain used to move people and commerce across the country.
While much attention has been placed on natural gas as a possible replacement fuel for diesel in the heavy duty fleet, natural gas cannot match the energy density of diesel. Today, over 98% of Class 4-8 vehicles are powered by diesel. The Fuels Institute predicts that roughly 94.5% of heavy duty vehicles will be powered by diesel by 2023 as natural gas is expected to power the remaining 5%. Clearly, the U.S. economy depends on diesel. Thanks to impressive investments in clean technology, diesel powered equipment and vehicles are cleaner and more efficient. Many engine manufacturers now report very little discernible difference in emissions between a new clean diesel engine and a comparable natural gas powered engine. With continuing investments in clean diesel technology, these vehicles and equipment will get even cleaner.
We appreciate the time and attention the Highways and Transit Subcommittee has invested into examining needed changes to improve the movement of commerce and we hope that you will consider our group as a useful resource.