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Clean diesel technology slashes emissions, drives fuel efficiency for trucks

Introduction of more advanced diesel truck engines, innovative emissions control systems, and cleaner diesel fuel over the past decade has resulted in major improvements in air quality and fuel efficiency. This is according to new research compiled by The Martec Group, a global technical marketing research firm, for the Diesel Technology Forum.

The four million cleaner heavy-duty diesels introduced from 2007 through 2015 have saved US consumers:

•29 million tonnes of CO2

•7.5 million tonnes of NOx

•218,000 tonnes of particulate matter (PM)

•2.9 billion gallons of diesel

•69 million barrels of crude oil

David McNew/Getty Images News

“It is clear from these findings that the new generation of clean diesel technology is delivering large and expanding benefits to society in the form of fewer emissions and lower fuel consumption,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum. “The reductions from the 2007 and newer trucks on the road today are equivalent to removing the CO2 emissions from 6.1 million light-duty cars from the road for one year, removing the NOx emissions from all light-duty cars for two years, and removing the particulate matter from all light-duty cars for six years.”

Schaeffer said 42% of all medium and heavy-duty diesel commercial trucks (Classes 3-8) in operation in the United States—four million of 9.5 million diesel trucks—were now equipped with newer technology clean diesel engines; up from 38% in 2015. For Class 8 trucks running the newest generation (2010 and newer) engines, the new technology saved truckers $2,400 a year in fuel costs by using 875 fewer gallons of fuel (based on 125,000 miles traveled).

In December 2000, the US Environmental Protection Agency established new requirements to reduce emissions from on-road heavy-duty trucks and buses by up to 95% and cut the allowable levels of sulfur in diesel fuel by 97% by 2010. The first requirement for a 98% reduction in particulate matter became effective in 2007. In 2010, requirements for a 98% reduction in NOx from 2007 levels went into effect.

To achieve these new standards, the new clean diesel system relies on an efficient engine and 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.

The Martec Group also calculated the emissions benefits achieved in selected states. From 2011-2015 new technology diesel engines in:

•California have removed 700,000 tonnes of NOx from the atmosphere and saved 2.5 million tonnes of CO2.

•New York have removed 250,000 tonnes of NOx from the atmosphere and saved 900,000 tonnes of CO2.

•New Jersey have removed 160,000 tonnes of NOx from the atmosphere and saved 500,000 tonnes of CO2.

•Pennsylvania have removed 300,000 tonnes of NOx from the atmosphere and saved 1.3 million tonnes of CO2.

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