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January 23, 2014   |   Diesel Technology Forum

Press Release

Clean Diesel Powers California’s Economy Today, Sustainable Goods Movement Tomorrow

SACRAMENTO  (January 23, 2014) - The Diesel Technology Forum issued the following statement about California's Sustainable Freight Initiative, being publicly introduced today at the California Air Resources Board (CARB) meeting in Sacramento.

"The new generation of clean diesel technology is moving the global economy today.  By rapidly reducing the footprint of emissions and energy consumption from all aspects of freight movement, clean diesel power is key to a future of sustainable goods movement," said Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum, a non-profit educational group.

"Diesel has long been the power of choice for moving goods around the globe, whether it's on cargo ships, rail transport or over-the-road trucks.  It's unmatched combination of energy efficiency, power and performance, availability, reliability, and scalability have been the primary reasons for its current dominance.  Its environmental transformation, energy efficiency and renewable fuel capabilities are the reasons it will continue to be a key part of the future," said Schaeffer.

"Clean diesel is one of California's and the nation's greatest environmental and economic success stories of the last decade.  Today's California diesel engines now use some of the world's cleanest diesel fuel, in engines that have near-zero emissions and are more energy efficient, and renewable fuel ready than any other technology.   These historic environmental improvements take on even more significance when you consider that more than 80 percent of all freight in the U.S. is moved by diesel-powered trucks, railroads and marine vessels," Schaeffer said.

"Our nation is in the increasingly favorable position of being able to determine our energy future, from expanded use of domestically produced oil and natural gas to renewable energy sources such as high-quality bio-based diesel fuels.  All of these fuels will be important in the future, and the diesel engine is the foundation for taking advantage of this position for energy efficient goods movement, no matter what fuel is burned or in what type of truck, train, boat or barge it is moving," said Schaeffer.

"Diesel engine and equipment makers have worked hand in glove with air quality regulators for nearly two decades to reduce emissions from diesel technology and encourage the investment in the latest generation of fuel efficient, near-zero emissions trucks.  As a result of this cooperative effort, new diesel technology has achieved a 95 percent reduction in oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) nationwide.  Further emissions reductions are on the near-term horizon.  As a result of this accomplishment, from 2006 to 2012 nationally, new diesel technology prevented some 1 million metric tons of NOx emissions (the equivalent of 105 coal-fired power plants in one year) and some 27,000 metric tons of PM.

"As a result of these past investments and continued innovations, clean diesel is well-positioned meet the future challenges, including each of CARB's five identified goals on goods movement:

1)  Move goods more efficiently and with zero/near-zero emissions:  Today's clean diesel engines are near zero emission of particulate matter and ozone-forming nitrogen oxide emissions.  More than 20 percent of all registered commercial trucks on the road today in California are 2007 and newer model years with this near-zero emissions technology, a number that is increasing daily.  From new commercial trucks to new marine vessels and railroad locomotives, the transformation of diesel power to near zero emissions offers California unique benefits.

In fact, almost all of the trucks operating today in and out of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are 2007 model year or newer.  The ports' joint Clean Air Action Plan, adopted in 2006, required the replacement of older diesel trucks with those that met federal 2007 emissions specifications by 2011.  New diesel was the compliance technology of choice for most truck owners due to diesel's emissions performance, road performance and cost - in spite of generous government subsidies for competing natural gas trucks.

2)  Transition to cleaner, renewable transportation energy sources:  With diesel's unmatched energy efficiency, coupled with the ability to use a wide variety of renewable and low-carbon biofuels, clean diesel technology is uniquely positioned to reduce the energy and environmental footprint of goods movement.  Unlike natural gas trucks, which must rely on a limited number of fueling facilities, diesel trucks can fuel up anywhere No. 2 diesel fuel is sold, and they have the advantage of being capable of using bio-based diesel fuel where available.

3)  Provide reliable velocity and expanded system capacity:  No other technology or power source has the diversity of scalability and efficiency as the diesel engine.  Its global penetration assures that engines will be able to do more work and haul more freight using less fuel than ever before.

4)  Integrate with national and international freight transportation system:  No other technology has the global reach or infiltration in the global goods movement system to match diesel power.  The International Energy Association, National Petroleum Council and Exxon Mobil have all forecast that diesel will displace gasoline as the number one global transportation fuel by 2030.

5)  Support healthy, livable communities:  New generation clean diesel technology is near zero emissions now, and California leads the world in efforts to modernize, upgrade and replace older technology with newer cleaner technology.  For example, in the Port of Los Angeles, since 2007, NOx emissions from diesel trucks have been reduced by nearly 80 percent - from 6,485 tons per year to 1,325 tons per year in 2012."  

U.S. Clean Diesel Technology Exports an Economic Powerhouse
"Diesel technology powers the global economy," Schaeffer said, "and it so happens that the U.S. is a leader in the manufacturing of the new generation of clean diesel technology.  Altogether, diesel product and fuel exports represented $46.2 billion of U.S. exports, according to a recent study by California-based Aspen Environmental and M-Cubed.  Most notably, diesel technology has an export-to-value ratio that is five times higher than the national average.

"Diesel engine manufacturing is particularly notable, accounting for $6.9 billion in exports (22 percent of production), and nearly one in four diesel engines made in the U.S. were destined for export.

"America's clean diesel technology is the very kind of reliable, durable, energy efficient and low?emissions products that are highly-valued exports increasingly in demand, making progress possible around the globe."

Significant Environmental Gains Will Be Achieved under EPA's Truck and Bus Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards
In August 2011, the U.S. EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) established a national program to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and establish new fuel efficiency standards for commercial trucks and buses beginning in 2014 through 2018.

"Because of the sheer magnitude of commercial vehicles operating in the United States, this regulation has the potential to result in significant environmental and energy efficiency gains," Schaeffer said. "The U.S. fleet of trucks consumes about 22 billion gallons of diesel fuel every year. Over the lifetime of the vehicles affected by the new rule, the program is expected to reduce oil consumption by more than 500 million barrels, result in more than $50 billion in net benefits, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 250 million metric tons.

"And because diesel provides a unique technology platform suitable for expanded use of hybrid powertrains and lower-carbon renewable fuels - additional new technology will be available for reducing GHG emissions in the future."


The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit national organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology, and working with policymakers and other stakeholders on common solutions.  Forum members are leaders in clean diesel technology.


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Media Inquiries:
Allen Schaeffer
Executive Director
(301) 668-7230

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