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David McNew/Getty Images News

Clean diesel trucks now make up 30% of US commercial vehicles

Introduction of new technology clean diesel truck engines equipped with advanced emissions control systems into the nation’s trucking fleet over the past five years is now at a 30% level and has yielded significant emission reductions and fuel savings, according to new research commissioned by the Diesel Technology Forum (DTF).

“Almost 3 million heavy-duty diesel commercial vehicles introduced in the United States from 2011 through 2016 now on the road are powered by the latest-generation clean diesel engines, and these trucks have delivered important benefits in the form of cleaner air, fewer carbon dioxide emissions and dramatic fuel savings,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the DTF. “Over a five-year period, the newest generation commercial vehicles have saved 4.2 billion gallons of diesel fuel, and reduced 43 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), 21 million tonnes of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 1.2 million tonnes of particulate matter.

“Because diesel overwhelmingly dominates the heavy-duty truck sector and is also the number one power source for medium-duty vehicles, the transition to newer generations of clean diesel technology (2011 and later MY) is significant,” said Schaeffer. “The 30% national average is up from just 25.7% last year. The research also estimated that significant further benefits would accrue to communities across the country if more of these newer-generation clean diesel trucks enter into service.

The benefits research was conducted by IHS Markit, a global technical marketing research firm. State rankings data is based on DTF analysis of IHS Markit vehicles in operation data representing Class 3-8 diesel trucks from model year 2011 through 2016 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia through December 31, 2016.

“This newest generation of clean diesel trucks have NOx emissions that are 99% lower than previous generations along with 98% fewer emissions of particulate matter, resulting in significant clean air benefits throughout the United States,” said Schaeffer. “Beginning in 2011, all heavy-duty diesel trucks sold had to meet NOx emissions of no more than 0.20 grams per brake horsepower hour (g/BHP-hr). This is in addition to particulate emissions levels of no more than 0.01 grams per brake horse-power hour (g/HP-hr) established in 2007.

“In addition to these substantial societal benefits, a Class 8 tractor-trailer sized vehicle powered by the latest-generation clean diesel engine will save the owner 960 gallons of fuel each year, relative to the previous generation of technology.  When these benefits are compounded over the entire population of the clean diesel fleet, the 4.2 billion gallons of fuel saved between 2011 and 2016 is equivalent to almost 40% of the strategic petroleum reserve,” said Schaeffer.

To achieve these new levels of emissions and efficiency, the new clean diesel system relies on an efficient engine and optimized combustion system using the most advanced fuel-injection, turbocharging and engine management strategies coupled with advanced emissions controls and aftertreatment technologies. These include particulate filters and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems, all running on ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel.

Access www.dieselforum.org for more details.

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