Diesel technology is the primary technology driving key sectors of the U.S. economy.
March 18, 2016 | Diesel Technology Forum
New York City – While diesel passenger vehicles sales have decreased in recent months, there are some positive signs that indicate diesel sales will recover and expand in the coming years, according to Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum.
Schaeffer made his comments during a speech to automotive writers at the International Motor Press Association (IMPA) this week in New York City. Auto analyst Alan Baum of Baum and Associates also addressed IMPA by audio from Detroit.
Schaeffer said that new federal fuel efficiency standards requiring higher vehicle mileage will be a significant boost for clean diesel vehicles, which have about 30 percent better fuel efficiency than gasoline vehicles. Schaeffer also noted that new diesel technology has helped diesel pickup trucks break the 30 mpg highway mark that will be key to reaching the new federal efficiency standards.
“Diesel is an important strategy for meeting future efficiency and fuel economy requirements for most major automotive manufacturers,” Schaeffer said.
He also noted that an overwhelming majority of U.S. and international auto makers have expressed support for diesel vehicles in the worldwide markets. In the next year, Schaeffer said, there could be up to 24 new diesel vehicles introduced in the U.S. including five new diesel cars, 12 SUVs and seven pickup trucks.
One specific highlight is the speculation of a diesel version of the Ford F-150, the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. Schaeffer said such a commitment from Ford for its top-selling vehicle was a strong indication of the commitment to diesels by automakers.
Schaeffer said U.S. diesel sales have declined significantly due to Volkswagen stopping sales of most of their diesel vehicles here due to a defeat device in the emissions systems. To recover from this, Schaeffer said auto makers have to clearly demonstrate to consumers that new clean diesel technology compares favorably to other technologies like hybrids and electric vehicles.
Another important positive for the diesel market was the continued use of cleaner-burning biodiesel and the emerging renewable diesel fuel market, which has attracted strong support from city leaders in San Francisco, Oakland and New York City because of its ability to significantly improve emissions without any modifications to existing vehicles.
Auto analyst Alan Baum said the future fuel economy regulations will require automakers to adopt an “all hands on deck” strategy using a mix of internal combustion engines, including gasoline and diesels, hybrids, electrics, and even fuel cells. Baum also said “light weighting” would be more common among all vehicle sectors to improve mileage.
By the year 2020, Baum projected that hybrids will move forward as costs and the technology improves, diesels would increase, but plug-ins and battery electric vehicles would remain a small sector of the overall market.
Baum also pointed to the continued popularity of diesel pickups – large and small – in the U.S. He said that Cummins is developing a 2.8-liter diesel pickup truck engine that gets 40 mpg on the highway and meets the same Tier 3 emissions standard as a Toyota Prius hybrid.
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ABOUT THE DIESEL TECHNOLOGY FORUM
The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-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 www.dieselforum.org.
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