Adoption of the newest, cleanest diesel truck technology has jumped by 6 percent in one year and now makes up more than one-third of all trucks on the road, with some states having new technology diesel in more than two-thirds of their fleets, says new research from the Diesel Technology Forum.
According to analysis by the Diesel Technology Forum of 2017 US vehicles in operation data (GVW 3-8) provided by IHS Markit, 36 percent of all commercial diesel trucks on U.S. roads – from the ubiquitous white box delivery trucks on up to the largest 18 wheelers – are now powered by the newest generation of diesel technologies (MY 2011 and newer), up from just 30 percent in 2016 and 25.7 percent in 2015.
“Especially for the largest of trucks, no other fuel matches what the newest generation of diesel technology continues to improve upon: efficient performance, low-emissions, reliability, durability, low-cost operation, and maximum flexibility in utilization, routing and fueling,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum. “In comparison, about 21 percent of all commercial trucks (Class 3-8) use gasoline and about 4 percent use other fuels, with those using natural gas amounting to less than 1 percent.”
“Just a six percent increase in the number of new-technology diesel trucks on the road has delivered important benefits in the form of cleaner air, fewer carbon dioxide emissions in the communities in which they operate, as well as dramatic fuel savings to truckers,” continued Schaeffer. “The more than 4.9 million new-technology diesel trucks now on the road have removed more than 26 million tonnes of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 59 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air. On average, truckers saved $2,600 in fuel, which adds up to 138 million barrels of crude oil – that’s 50 percent of the entire U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, saved by just a few thousand trucks.”
The U.S. trucking fleet is transitioning to newer diesel technology which means immediate fuel savings, lower greenhouse gas emissions and cleaner air. According to Fleet Advantage's latest Truck Lifecycle Data Index, the newest Class 8 diesel trucks can save truckers up to $26,600 in fuel costs over a 2012 model – a 7.9 percent increase in savings, despite higher average diesel prices. These newest trucks also offer significant clean air benefits: NOx emissions that are 99 percent lower than previous generations, along with 98 percent fewer emissions of particulate matter. Beginning in 2011, all new heavy-duty trucks are equipped with selective catalytic reduction and particulate control technologies, which combine to achieve stringent new EPA emissions requirements for NOx emissions of no more than 0.20 grams per brake horsepower hour (g/BHP-hr.). This is in addition to particulate emissions levels of no more than 0.01 grams per brake horsepower hour (g/HP-hr.) established in 2007.
According to the same dataset from IHS Markit, of Class 8 heavy-duty trucks – the big 18-wheelers on U.S. roads (all model years) – 97 percent rely on diesel fuel. Indiana, Texas and California rank highest in the greatest total numbers of new Class 8 heavy-duty trucks.
The adoption rates of the newest diesel technologies in these states’ diesel fleets varies widely. Indiana, Tennessee and the District of Columbia have the highest percentage of new-generation Class 8 diesel trucks (IN 66%; TN 60%; DC 48%). Meanwhile, Florida, California and New Hampshire have the fastest-growing heavy duty clean diesel fleets (% change, 2016-2017: FL 81%; CA 37%; NH 35%).
A full state-by-state breakdown is available on the Forum’s website at https://www.dieselforum.org/in-your-state
“Over the last decade, truck and engine manufacturers and their suppliers have fundamentally transformed diesel technology to near-zero emissions performance while also increasing its fuel efficiency,” said Schaeffer. “Diesel’s continued dominance as the technology of choice for heavy-duty trucking reflects the technology’s proven record of continuous improvement and low-cost operation.”