What is Clean Diesel?

Share This Page

November 27, 2018   |   Diesel Technology Forum

Policy Insider

How to Reduce Emissions, Build Resilient Communities and Keep the Economy Moving?

Clean diesel technology is ready and able today to help reduce emissions, build resilient communities and keep our economy moving.

Whether you like it or not, climate change will quickly have an impact on your life. Even if you are not victim of the growing number of severe weather events, which will only get worse, you may feel the burn of economic disruption caused by climate change. That is the takeaway from the 4th National Climate Assessment released by the Trump Administration just after Thanksgiving. 

It will take big things to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and plan for the inevitable change in our lives brought on by climate change. Tackling the challenge requires proven near term, fuel efficient and lower CO2 solutions, and the new generation of advanced diesel technology is already racking up CO2 savings.

Reducing Emissions
Today, our economy is reliant on diesel technology that powers the agricultural and construction sectors and the fleet of trucks, trains, vessels and equipment that move freight to store shelves, factory floors and even your home. An economy without diesel would not move. The latest generation clean diesel innovations are ready and available today to keep the economy functioning while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For example, a single new technology diesel truck on the road for a year can reduce almost 10 tons of C02 emissions compared to a previous generation of technology. Getting more of these clean diesel trucks on the road will do a lot to help reign in emissions. Between 2014 and 2018, U.S. EPA estimates that the first ever fuel economy standard for heavy-duty trucks will eliminate 270 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Greenhouse gas reduction technologies are not just limited to trucks. Even bigger applications like marine workboats and locomotives are getting fuel efficient as well. In the Pacific Northwest, one rail operator replaced an older generation diesel engine with the latest Tier 4 clean diesel model and saved 19,000 gallons of fuel that directly reduces C02 emissions. Even bigger engines that power marine vessels help reign in emissions. One tug boat operator in the Puget Sound region replaced older propulsion engines with new clean diesel models and realized 45,000 gallons of fuel saved that reduced C02 emissions by 1,000 tons.

Diesel fuel is also getting cleaner and lower in carbon intensity. One of the biggest contributors to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector in California is not the growth in all-electric cars, but the switch to renewable diesel fuel. As more and more city fleets and businesses switch to renewable diesel, even greater greenhouse gas emissions can be realized overnight. For example, the City of San Francisco powers over 600 transit buses exclusively with renewable diesel fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10,000 tons each year.

Benefits like these do not go unnoticed with cities outside California. On the East Coast, other municipalities are eagerly looking to make the switch. In fact, the City of New York is in the process of fueling its massive fleet of heavy-duty vehicles with renewable diesel. The use of advanced biofuels including renewable diesel fuel is expected to be the biggest contributing element to the City’s effort to reduce its carbon footprint, even beating out planned adoption of all-electric passenger vehicles.

Building Resilient Communities
Climate change is already adversely effecting communities around the country forcing cities to build and prepare for severe events.  Sunny day flooding – a new term added to the dictionary – is currently forcing the city of Miami Beach to raise sidewalks and roadways. Some communities located in the Louisiana bayou have already been abandoned. Other flood and hurricane prone cities are considering establishing barrier islands or marsh lands to absorb storm surge while others are considering much larger mega projects like a series of sea walls planned for New York City. Still yet, some states are requiring the installation of generators at critical locations like fuel stations and retirement communities to provide power when the grid goes down.

All of these applications will be completed thanks to diesel-powered equipment. Diesel is the technology of choice for larger off-road equipment and vehicles necessary to build these resilient communities. Diesel is also the technology of choice for mobile and stationary generators that provide mission critical power when the grid goes down. One of the benefits of diesel technology is its portability to even the most remote of locations. Fuel retailers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic are also installing the necessary electrical switchgear to accept mobile generators in the event of a power outage to keep motorists on evacuation routes and allow first responders to refuel vehicles.

The effects of a warming planet will be realized by all of us very quickly. Clean diesel technology is ready and available today to contribute to reduce greenhouse gas reductions to help cool a warming planet while keeping our economy moving. Clean diesel technology is also ready and available today to make sure our communities are prepared for these severe weather events.  


All News & Resources

Key Contact

Ezra Finkin
Director, Policy

More Policy Insider

Sign up for diesel direct

weekly analysis & commentary from the diesel technology forum