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September 21, 2020   |

Press Release

Energy Transitions, Carbon Reduction and Climate Change: Diesel Technology’s Role in the Future

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The near-zero emissions achieved by the new generation of diesel trucks is assured through the proper maintenance and servicing by qualified technicians.


Even as manufacturers explore other fuels and technology options, continued investments in diesel are strong indicators about the future for advanced diesel engines.



September 21, 2020 (WASHINGTON, DC) – The following is a statement from Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, on the occasion of Climate Week NYC. The Diesel Technology Forum is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to expanding the understanding about the energy efficiency, environmental performance and unique capabilities of diesel engines, fuels and equipment across 15 sectors of the global economy and how it has transformed to play a key role in the low-carbon future. 

Climate Week NYC brings an important focus on the broad challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As we are witnessing, transition to new fuels and technologies is likely to take considerable time to reach commercial scale and market acceptance. Decarbonizing the global economy is a complex and substantial undertaking that by definition will not have simple one-size fits all solutions, nor uniform timetables. The near-zero emissions achieved by the new generation of diesel trucks is assured through the proper maintenance and servicing by qualified technicians.

“Future diesel technology is evolving to meet the challenges of a low-carbon sustainable future, and is being defined by four trends: increasing energy efficiency, achieving even lower emissions, expanded use of renewable biodiesel fuels and hybridization. Considerable progress in each area is happening today helping ports, cities, communities and the entire goods movement system meet climate and clean air challenges of today and tomorrow.

 Roadmap to the Future

“Across the board, today’s generation of advanced diesel technologies are more energy efficient and lower in emissions than previous generations, and remain the technology of choice in key sectors like commercial trucking, marine, agriculture, construction and freight rail applications. Coupled with growing success using advanced renewable bio-based fuels, diesel engines are well-positioned now and contributing already to low-carbon goods movement in America.

“Today in California we already see the results of using low-carbon biofuels in efficient diesel engines. In 2019, California’s use of biodiesel and renewable diesel fuels eliminated 6.6 million tons of CO2. Meanwhile, use of electric cars and trucks in the state resulted in only 2.7 million tons of CO2 reductions in 2019 – almost one third of the emissions reductions delivered by diesel engines using biodiesel fuels. Renewable diesel fuel’s contribution even edged out the reductions delivered by ethanol. Since the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program began in 2011, biodiesel and renewable diesel fuel have eliminated more than 25 million tons of CO2, according to the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

Even as manufacturers explore other fuels and technology options, continued investments in diesel are strong indicators about the future for advanced diesel engines. Today, 13 states are home to heavy-duty diesel engine manufacturing, supporting $4 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 1.25 million American jobs. It is clear that diesel technologies are and will remain a key piece of the global transportation and goods movement systems for decades to come.

“Today, diesel remains the dominant technology in long-haul trucking, powering 97 percent of Class 8 big-rig trucks in the United States. A growing percentage of diesel-powered commercial trucks rely on the newest-generation diesel technologies, which deliver near-zero emissions performance while using less fuel. Consider that today, more than 43 percent of commercial Class 3-8 vehicles are of this newest-generation technology (2011 and newer model years), up by 6.8 percent over 2017. Since 2011, these more than 4.9 million new-generation commercial diesel trucks have already delivered reductions of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide (CO2)) in an amount equivalent to eliminating 26 million light-duty vehicles from the fleet or converting those to all electric vehicles: the use of new-generation diesel trucks has removed more than 18 million tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 126 million tons of CO2, compared to previous generations.

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimate that the Commercial Vehicle Fuel Economy and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Standards Phase 1 rules saved 270 million tons CO2 and 530 million barrels of oil between 2014 and 2018, and that the Phase 2 rules will save another 1 billion tons of CO2 and nearly 2 billion barrels of oil between 2021 and 2027.  Research commissioned by the Diesel Technology Forum confirms that the majority of these significant benefits will be delivered by more efficient diesel trucks.

60 trucks infographic

“New diesel trucks are so clean that it would take more than 60 new-generation diesel trucks to equal the emissions from one truck sold in 1988. Even further progress for lower emissions is on the horizon, as truck and engine manufacturers work with EPA on the Cleaner Trucks Initiative, developing tomorrow’s generation of diesel engines. From coupling with hybrid-electric technology and battery-storage systems, to pushing thermal efficiency boundaries, to advanced waste-heat recovery systems, to utilizing high-quality advanced renewable biodiesel fuels, new-generation advanced diesel technology is uniquely suited to enable commercial trucking to contribute to our sustainable future.

“Diesel engines are the workhorses of the global economy.  In every corner of the world, diesel engines make progress possible – whether it be the planting and harvesting of agricultural products, the movement of people and goods, the mining of essential minerals, the delivery of clean drinking water, or the support of vital public health infrastructure such as wastewater treatment or continuous electricity, even the development of wind and solar farms. For many of these applications, diesel engines today are the only practical solution.”

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About The Diesel Technology Forum
Celebrating its 20th year, through research, collaboration and outreach the Diesel Technology Forum, a not-for profit educational association, is dedicated to expanding the understanding about the energy efficiency, environmental performance and unique capabilities of diesel engines, fuels and equipment across 15 sectors of the global economy and how it has transformed to play a key role in the low-carbon future.    For more information visit https://www.dieselforum.org/.


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Media Inquiries:
Allen Schaeffer
Executive Director
aschaeffer@dieselforum.org
(301) 668-7230

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