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October 03, 2017   |   Diesel Technology Forum

Policy Insider

Diesel is the Platform to Deliver Energy Efficiency

The latest clean diesel technologies build on diesel’s efficiency accolades by saving even more fuel and contributing to energy policy and air quality goals.


Diesel engines are prided for their durability and performance. They are also known as one of the most fuel efficient technologies around. The latest clean diesel technologies build on diesel’s efficiency accolades by saving even more fuel and contributing to energy policy and air quality goals. Further advancements in diesel technology will continue to polish diesel’s efficiency credentials.

Diesel fuel is the most energy dense liquid fuel and the diesel engine is the most efficient means of transferring this energy into power. This is why diesel is technology of choice for heavy-duty trucks responsible for towing tons of freight and off-road equipment like construction and agricultural equipment that perform work. Clean diesel engines that use the latest generation technology couple near-zero emissions benefits along with further improvements in fuel savings. A single clean diesel Class 8 tractor, using the latest generation clean diesel technology, saves 960 gallons of fuel compared to previous generations of diesel technology. In fact, the fleet of clean diesel commercial vehicles on the road have saved 4.2 billion gallons of fuel since 2011. 

Diesel will be a critical technology to deliver further advancements in fuel efficiency in the commercial vehicle fleet. Today, three out of every four trucks on the road are powered by diesel. The first ever fuel economy rules for trucks is predicted to save about 500 million gallons of fuel while the second phase of these requirements are anticipated to save another 2 billion gallons of fuel. Recent research also predicts that diesel will still be the dominant technology powering America’s commercial vehicle fleet over the lifetime of these requirements.

Diesel technology is also known as a technology of continuous improvement. Many diesel engines are also paired with energy saving and hybrid capabilities that further add to the energy efficiency of the clean diesel platform. While diesel is the predominant technology in the heavy-duty truck fleet, the Fuels Institute recently predicted that the fastest growing technology that will take away some of diesel’s predominant position will be diesel-hybrid technology. Cummins, a leading global engine manufacturer, recently announced that a clean diesel engine will be paired with an all-electric powertrain for a Class 8 truck application necessary to meet the extended range requirement of many fleets.

Hybrid and other energy saving technologies are also found in off-road equipment including construction equipment. 

As we celebrate Energy Efficiency Day on October 5, we should highlight diesel technology. The most efficient powertrain around has already saved record quantities of fuel while further advancements will continue to deliver efficiency benefits in the future. Diesel’s continuous improvement and capability for hybridization mean diesel will be an integral technology in the drive for greater energy efficiency.  



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

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