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January 08, 2019   |   Diesel Technology Forum

Policy Insider

Behind all the Good Economic Numbers is a Diesel Truck

Behind a booming economy is a diesel truck. As the trucking and logistics industry continues to expand to meet the needs of a growing economy, more new advanced technology diesel trucks will likely enter service.


By any measure, 2018 was a good year for car sales, which were up 0.4 percent despite predictions of a big slow down. But what about commercial truck sales, a key indicator of freight demand and economic strength? When final data comes in, 2018 is expected to have been an even better year, with U.S Class 8 truck makers expected to have churned out almost 250,000 trucks for 2018, a 30 percent increase over last year according to some forecasters.  That’s a sign of a healthy economy that’s quite literally trucking along.

For the second quarter of 2018 – the last full quarter for which the U.S. Department of Commerce reports data – GDP was up 4.2 percent. This is nothing new as the U.S. economic expansion continues it upwards trend. Private sector activities were one of the big drivers of the expansion. According to Bureau of Economic Analysts, “The second quarter increase was primarily attributed to motor vehicles, bodies and trailers, and parts manufacturing.”  That means trucks. 

Driving this demand is the demand for trucking services. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, about 70 percent of the nation’s freight is moved by truck, predominantly large Class 8 tractors. The transportation, logistics and warehousing sector was up over 7 percent in the second quarter of 2018 making it one of the top five contributors to private sector growth. This is backed up by trucking industry estimates that have 2018 as one of the best years for the trucking industry since 1998.

Changes to tax policy help too. According to the American Trucking Associations, 47 percent of trucking firms are expected to invest the windfall from recent tax changes into new equipment purchases including new trucks. 

Today, 98 percent of these diesel trucks rolling off assembly lines to keep the U.S. economy moving are powered by advanced technology diesel engines.  The latest innovations couple near-zero emissions technologies that help improve air quality for the communities where these trucks serve along with significant fuel savings benefits that help put money back into the pocket of truck owners. A new advanced technology diesel Class 8 truck on the road for 125,000 miles a year will save 960 gallons of fuel and reduce oxides of nitrogen (a smog forming compound) by 2.3 tons relative to previous generations of technology.

2018 Heavy Duty Trucking Infographic

Behind a booming economy is a diesel truck.  As the trucking and logistics industry continues to expand to meet the needs of a growing economy, more new advanced technology diesel trucks will likely enter service. While getting the job done, these new diesel trucks will also save record amounts of fuel and reduce emissions that benefit us all.



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Key Contact

Ezra Finkin
Director, Policy
efinkin@dieselforum.org
301-668-7230

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