September 25, 2020 (WASHINGTON, DC) – The Diesel Technology Forum issued the following statement on the occasion of National Truck Technician Appreciation Week:
“Behind every safe and efficient truck, there is an army of dedicated technicians. Maintenance technicians are really the unsung heroes of the trucking industry. It takes a workforce of well trained and highly skilled technicians to keep America’s trucking industry on the road and we salute their dedication and contribution,” said Allen Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum, a not for profit educational association.
“Today, three out of every four trucks on the road, from large work pickups to tractor-trailer sized trucks, are powered by diesel technology. Maintaining and servicing these advanced technology vehicles requires so much more of a skill set today, beyond mechanical knowledge to ability to diagnose and repair complex systems controlled by on board computers. From anti-lock brakes and a growing array of sensors, cameras and safety technology, to the new generation diesel technology that utilizes advanced engine emissions control systems, today’s technicians aren’t just turning wrenches, they are diagnosing and servicing high-tech machines.
“The near-zero emissions achieved by the new generation of diesel trucks is assured through the proper maintenance and servicing by qualified technicians. Though we often don’t think of technicians as on the front line of air quality and lower greenhouse gas emissions, the work they do every day contributes substantially to clean air and climate goals by making sure trucks are saving fuel and operate as efficiently and cleanly as possible. 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. Research commissioned by the Diesel Technology Forum shows that a single new technology diesel Class 8 tractor can eliminate over 2 tons of smog forming compounds and save almost 10 tons of greenhouse gas emissions in a single year, compared to older technology.”
According to the Department of Labor, there are over 255,000 diesel mechanics in every state of the Union. These skilled jobs offer salaries typically above the national average.
“While alternatives to diesel exist today, and others are on the drawing board for the future, diesel will still be a dominant technology powering the nation’s fleet of commercial vehicles, making for growing demand for qualified diesel specialist technicians. A well trained and skilled workforce of diesel technicians will be critical to ensure that these advanced diesel as well as alternative fueled trucks continue to deliver for America while helping achieve clean air and climate goals,” said Schaeffer.
“Even as manufacturers explore other fuels and technology options, continued investments in diesel are strong indicators about the future for advanced diesel engines, and the career opportunity for qualified and skilled technicians. 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.
“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.
“Even further progress for lower emissions is on the horizon, as truck and engine manufacturers work with the U.S. EPA on the Clean Truck 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.
“Commercial vehicles with 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. For many of these applications, diesel engines today are the only practical solution, and those that can service and maintain these advanced machines will have good careers and bright futures around the world.”
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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/.