With 98 percent of the largest commercial trucks powered by diesel engines, the current and future advancements in clean diesel technology will be key in helping the US achieve the new federal fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards. According to Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the non-profit Diesel Technology Forum, “The final rules [announced on August 16] establish a bold challenge to further increase fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to unprecedented levels from a wide range of commercial vehicles.”
Allen Schaeffer states: “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 mph, run 100,000 to 120,000 miles a year, in every corner of the US, while doing it all at the lowest possible cost.”
Schaeffer notes that meeting the first phase of these rules has been underway since 2014, with full implementation in 2017.
“Forty-two percent of all commercial trucks in use today in the US 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.
“Gains in fuel efficiency and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions have been built on the foundation of clean diesel technology that first emerged in 2007; advanced engines, new emissions control systems, and ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel. It would take more than 60 of today’s generation clean diesel trucks to equal the emissions from a single truck built before 1990.”
“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 says.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Donna Campbell is editor in chief of Modern WorkTruck Solutions and Modern Contractor Solutions. This monthly column will feature commentary on trending issues for work truck and transportation matters.