What is Clean Diesel?

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Diesel Drivers

Why Diesel?

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.

Why Diesel?

Clean diesel cars, trucks and SUVs typically achieve an impressive 20 to 35 percent improvement in fuel economy and 10 to 20 percent reduction in emissions when compared to a similar gasoline powered vehicles (www.fueleconomy.gov). Recent advances in emission control technology, combined with the introduction of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel in 2006 enabled diesel-powered cars and pickup trucks to be certified for sale in all 50 states, generating greater interest in this new generation of clean diesel cars and SUVs. These changes, combined with market success of a limited range of existing diesel products have prompted vehicle manufacturers to consider diesel as a new option for passenger vehicles or to expand the number of diesel offerings available. 

Clean diesel engines eliminated black smoke since 2007 with the introduction of new particulate filters. And because diesels deliver up to 35 percent better real-world fuel economy, national fuel economy standards for cars and light-duty trucks beginning in 2017 are also expected to be met in part by an increasing number of clean diesel passenger vehicle choices. 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 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 or “down-the-road” expectation – 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 are introducing more diesel-powered models every year and consumers are warming up to the efficiency and unique characteristics of the powertrain. In fact, many drivers report fuel economy benefits that consistently rival a hybrid, and exceed EPA window stickers posted mileage. These vehicles are clean with low CO2 emissions, they provide great performance, they are renewable fuel-ready and most important – they are available to the American public right now.

While diesel passenger vehicles currently make up a modest 2.88 percent of the entire U.S. vehicle market, Diesel Technology Forum has collected consensus forecasts from auto and market analysts who predict that diesel cars, pickups and SUVs will comprise about seven percent of the market by 2020 or just over one million diesel-powered cars and trucks on the road, saving almost eight million tons of carbon emissions and about 24 million barrels of crude oil.

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. 

Biofuel Compatible

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.  

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2017 Light Duty Infographic


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