What is Clean Diesel?

Share This Page

August 09, 2011   |   Diesel Technology Forum

Press Release

Diesel Power Ready to Meet Challenge To Achieve Lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions & Increased Fuel Efficiency in Trucks & Buses

“This landmark new rule envisions diesel power as the continued workhorse of freight transportation in the clean energy economy of tomorrow.” – Allen Schaeffer, Diesel Technology Forum

Washington, D.C. – Diesel engines – which power more than 95 percent of America’s commercial trucks and 85 percent of its buses – will play a central role of the United States’ new effort to reduce fuel consumption and lower greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in the years ahead.

The final rules issued this morning by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) establish a national program to reduce GHG emissions and establish new fuel efficiency standards for commercial trucks and buses beginning in 2014 through 2018.

“This landmark new rule envisions diesel power as the continued workhorse of freight transportation in the clean energy economy of tomorrow,” said Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum. “The goals set out in these new regulations build on past progress in making diesel clean, and demand further gains in diesel engine efficiency.

“As the industry moves to meet these new standards, the diesel engine provides a strong foundation. Further improvements to the diesel engine will be made and combined with enhancements to other vehicle components to tackle this new chapter of regulations. Diesel also provides a unique technology platform suitable for expanded use of hybrid powertrains and lower-carbon renewable fuels - both strategies for reducing GHG emissions in the future.

“It Is Fitting That A Key Solution For Solving This Challenge Lies In The Diesel Engine.”

“The billions of dollars in research and development by engine and truck manufacturers over the last decade has paid off and led to the new technology diesel engines and fuels we know today. For all parties, the challenge of increasing fuel efficiency while maintaining or improving environmental, safety and productivity of commercial vehicles is as important as it is complex. These engines offer an unmatched combination of energy-efficiency, work capability, reliability and now near-zero emissions making them the technology of choice for commercial trucks today and into the foreseeable future.

U.S. Fleet of Trucks Consumes About 22 Billion Gallons of Diesel Fuel Every Year

“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. “More than 95 percent of all heavy duty trucks are diesel-powered, as are a majority of medium duty trucks and buses.

“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.

New 2011 Diesel Vehicles Deploy the Most State-Of-The-Art Engine & Emissions Control Systems

“Over the last 10 years, emissions from medium and heavy-duty diesel trucks and buses have been reduced by 99 percent. Today’s new 2011 medium and heavy-duty diesel truck or bus deploys the most state-of-the-art engine and emissions control systems and has near zero emissions; a significant accomplishment considering that increased fuel efficiency and lower emissions are near opposite and competing forces in diesel engine design. In fact, diesel vehicles manufactured after 2010 are experiencing an average five percent improvement in fuel efficiency, making them cleaner and more fuel efficient than ever before.”

Clean Diesel Truck GHG Rule Fact Sheet


In May of 2010, President Obama, in a Rose Garden Ceremony, announced a new effort to propose greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks and buses and to begin the process for further standards for light duty vehicles. (Note—this fact sheet focuses only on the medium and heavy-duty aspects of this rule.  A separate statement was issued by DTF on July 29, 2011 on the light duty vehicles).

Why is this final rule important?

It is the first ever regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency for heavy-duty vehicles. Heavy duty tractor trailer trucks consume approximately 22 billion gallons of diesel fuel every year, with medium duty trucks consuming a considerable amount as well. The potential for fuel savings is significant.

What are the medium and heavy-duty trucks subject to this proposed rule?

Why haven’t these vehicles been regulated before?

What is the average fuel efficiency of these vehicles compared to cars?

What are the most important aspects of this final rule for manufacturers?

Which technologies could be incorporated as a result of this rule?


The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit national 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.


All News & Resources

Key Contact

Media Inquiries:
Sarah Dirndorfer
Manager, Media Relations
(301) 668-7230

More Press Releases

Sign up for diesel direct

weekly analysis & commentary from the diesel technology forum