With 98 percent of the nation’s largest commercial trucks powered by diesel engines, advancements in clean diesel technology will be a key factor in achieving new federal fuel-efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards, according to the Diesel Technology Forum.
Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the non-profit organization, said, “The demands on heavy-duty engine and truck manufacturers are numerous. In addition to compliance with these new fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions requirements on a wide variety of customizable products, they must ensure near zero emissions performance for at least 435,000 miles.
“In addition to meeting all the latest federal safety requirements and having the highest uptime and reliability, the largest trucks must be able to move 80,000 pounds up mountains at 60 miles per hour, run 100,000 to 120,000 miles a year, in every corner of the United States, while doing it all at the lowest possible cost.
Schaeffer said that meeting the challenges set forth in the first phase of these rules has been underway since 2014, and won’t be fully implemented until 2017. “In the days ahead we will be fully reviewing and offering additional insights on this new complex rule, and are hopeful that the new goals established here achieve an effective balance of meeting customer demands and societal goals.
“For continued fuel savings and GHG reductions to be achieved, ultimately the acceptance and adoption of the technology by the trucking industry is key, and they have been embraced in this current generation of new clean diesel technology. Forty-two percent of all commercial trucks in use today in the U.S. achieve near-zero particulate emissions with 2007 and newer diesel technology engines, while 26 percent have 2011 generation or newer clean diesel technology that also achieve near zero emissions of nitrogen oxides.
“According to our most recent research, the 4.2 million new clean diesel commercial trucks put in service from 2007 through 2015 have saved nearly 3 billion gallons of diesel fuel and delivered significant emissions reductions equivalent to removing the CO2 emissions from 6.1 million light-duty vehicles from the road for one year, and NOx emissions from all light-duty vehicles for 2 years.
“Efficiency is by no means a new concept to diesel engine and truck manufacturers,” Schaeffer continued. “This new rule raises the bar, demanding even further innovation while recognizing the unique considerations of the trucking industry and many differing commercial heavy-duty applications.
“It would take more than 60 of today’s generation clean diesel trucks to equal the emissions from a single truck built before 1990. In Southern California more fine particles now come from brake dust and tire wear than from heavy-duty diesel trucks.
“Today’s diesel truck is more fuel efficient and has lower emissions than any previous generation, a significant accomplishment considering that increased fuel efficiency and lower emissions are near-opposite ends and competing forces in diesel engine design. Because diesel engines offer this unmatched combination of energy efficiency, power, performance and reliability, now coupled with near zero emissions, it ensures that diesel will be the technology of choice to power the majority of commercial trucks into the future,” Schaeffer said.