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August 13, 2018   |   Diesel Technology Forum

Policy Insider

The Economy Improves and So Does Air Quality

When it comes to powering things that move and do work, diesel technology has been the key technology.

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America’s economic prosperity relies on diesel technology to move products, cultivate crops and get big things done.


the fleet of clean diesel trucks on the road between 2011 and 2017 have reduced 26 million tons of emissions of NOx emissions and 1.5 million tons of emissions of fine particles.



Recent long term trends show that air quality and economic growth go hand in hand. While it takes more energy to fuel business expansion, the wealth generated by growing economic opportunity means greater uptake in clean and efficient technologies. That is great news for air quality! When it comes to powering things that move and do work, diesel technology has been the key technology. Over decades, the diesel platform has undergone a significant transformation to near-zero emissions. The adoption of these clean diesel technologies has been a contributor to air quality improvements.

EPA’s recently released National Air Quality report shows substantial progress in reducing emissions while supporting economic activity. According to the report titled “Our Nation’s Air: Status and Trends Through 2017”, between 1970 and 2017, our economy has expanded by 262 percent while overall emissions of criteria pollutants have declined 73 percent. Clean diesel technology has been a contributor to this economic and emission reduction success story.

Diesel is the technology of work, powering three out of four commercial trucks and is the primary technology behind construction and agricultural equipment, locomotives and marine workboats. America’s economic prosperity relies on diesel technology to move products, cultivate crops and get big things done. Thanks to decades of innovation, new diesel technology results in near zero emissions. From commercial trucks to much larger off-road equipment, new technology diesel is playing a vital role in reducing emissions and improving air quality.

While many sources are responsible for emissions, heavy-duty trucks and off-road equipment are a contributing source of fine particle emissions and oxides of nitrogen (NOx), an ozone forming compound. The adoption of the latest near-zero emissions clean diesel technology is contributing to declining emissions. According to research commissioned by the Diesel Technology Forum, the fleet of clean diesel trucks on the road between 2011 and 2017 have reduced 26 million tons of emissions of NOx emissions and 1.5 million tons of emissions of fine particles. Similar emission reduction technologies developed for commercial vehicles are also developed for off-road equipment including much larger locomotives and marine workboats.  For example, replacing  older engines that power a single tug boat with new clean diesel models can reduce as much NOx emissions as replacing nearly 100 Class 8 trucks.

These clean diesel technologies are directly contributing to improving air quality in the communities where they operate. Since 1990, the number of days exceeding unhealthy air quality standards has fallen by almost 65 percent and the introduction of clean diesel technology has played  a role in this success story.  Introducing more of the latest clean diesel technologies can further benefit communities across the country while underpinning continued economic growth.

An expanding economy means improvement in air quality. Without economic growth, businesses and consumers would not have the wherewithal to purchase the latest clean technologies. This is certainly true for clean diesel technologies. The adoption of the latest clean diesel technologies play a necessary role in reducing emissions and improving air quality for everyone.



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Key Contact

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

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