Clean diesel vehicles are clean with low CO2 emissions, they provide great performance, they are renewable fuel-ready and most important – they are available right now.
While there certainly is a buzz about alternative powertrains, it is also clear that continued commitments to gasoline and diesel technology are there as well. Consumers continue to demand a variety of powertrains, including clean diesel options. Today’s diesel vehicles are clean, quiet and fun-to-drive, and many consumers are learning diesel is an environmentally conscious option that does not sacrifice power or performance.
Clean diesel cars, trucks and SUVs typically achieve an impressive 20-35 percent improvement in fuel economy when compared to similar gasoline-powered vehicles (www.fueleconomy.gov). In fact, diesel cars owners consistently achieve real world fuel economy that exceeds EPA window stickers posted mileage. Consumer Affairs reports that diesel drivers typically report mileage that is 20 percent better than the EPA sticker.
Recent advances in emission control technology, combined with the introduction of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel in 2006 have improved performance, reduced engine noise and fuel odor, and decreased emissions. Clean diesel technology in today’s properly maintained vehicles emits near zero levels of emissions. Exhaust from new clean diesel trucks is so clean it passes the “white handkerchief test.” If you hold a handkerchief next to the tailpipe and rev the engine, it stays white – picking up no smell or black soot. That's why we call it #cleandiesel.
Clean diesel is not a “bridge” concept with only expectations for how it will perform in the future – these vehicles are on the road right now providing impressive hybrid-like mileage and meeting the same emissions standards as gasoline vehicles. Just as important is the fact that automakers around the globe continue to recognize the important role diesel engines play in today’s market. All need to be part of the mobility plan for the future, as a means to provide consumers a choice and recognizing that no single technology can meet the needs of every driver.
One of diesel’s strengths in the North American market is the variety of the most popular vehicle types that are offered with a diesel powertrain from small compact cars to large SUVs and pickup trucks. As a result, sales in the United States of diesel-powered vehicles continue to track directly alongside the sale volumes of battery-electric and plug-in hybrid powertrains.
Auto analysts and other comparative studies have also determined a significant savings that diesel owners experience compared to gas vehicle owners based on fuel costs, resale value and operating costs. Diesel vehicles saved owners as much as $2,000 to $6,000 in Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) during a three to five-year period when compared to similar gasoline vehicles.
Diesel technology's future value is further enhanced by its suitability for hybrid applications and its readiness to use a diverse range of first and second generation renewable and biodiesel fuels making diesel a clean and sustainable choice.
Diesel engines were originally invented to run on vegetable oils. Today, most diesel engines can run on high-quality blends of biodiesel with little modification as well as next-generation, drop-in renewable diesel fuels which offer even further benefits. This flexibility of the diesel platform can accelerate the introduction of these renewable diesel fuels across the economy.
Diesel drivers have the option to fill up with blends of biodiesel at the pump. Most new and existing diesel vehicles and equipment are compatible with lower level biodiesel or renewable diesel fuel blends, between five percent and 20 percent depending on manufacturer warranties.
When powered with a blend of five percent biodiesel, or B5, the anticipated growth in the light-duty car fleet will save a further 200 million gallons of gasoline and reduce CO2 emissions by a further 150,000 tonnes by 2023.