Diesel power is expected to drive the “expansion of freight transportation and the continued growth of the U.S. economy” according to Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum advocacy group. The group believes diesel will help to reduce emissions, improve air quality and save fuel.
The point made by Schaeffer was in a letter to Rep. John J. Dunchan, Jr. from Tennessee and members of the Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation he chairs. It was sent prior to a roundtable the panel was due to hold in Washington, D.C.
“The National Petroleum Council, International Energy Agency and ExxonMobil have all concluded that diesel will remain the predominant powertrain in heavy duty applications and the predominant global transportation powertrain in the future,” said Schaeffer.
Schaeffer continued, saying natural gas has been discussed regularly, but the groups believe it will not be able to compete with diesel due to the efficiency of diesel and the energy density of diesel fuel. The future is able to look so bright for diesel because of some issues that have been addressed recently.
- New diesel trucks will have near zero emissions due to the introduction and widespread availability of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel in 2006/2007. Other technologies have played a role as well to allow on-road heavy duty trucks to meet the first “near zero” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emissions regulations. The standards were tightened further for 2010 model year trucks.
- New diesel trucks are far more fuel efficient. According to research conducted by Martec Research, the owner of a new technology diesel Class 8 heavy duty truck will save an average of $3.500 per year in fuel costs.
- Off-road diesel equipment is improving as well. Similar emission control technologies that are featured in newer diesel trucks are also featured in off-road equipment using diesel fuel.
- American-made trucks and other items utilizing diesel are a big trade export, representing 4.4% of total U.S. exports with more than $46 billion worth of equipment being exported. One out of every four engines in the United States is produced for overseas markets.
“Clearly the U.S. economy depends on diesel,” said Schaeffer. “With continuing investments in clean diesel technology, these vehicles and equipment will get even cleaner.”
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