Clean Diesel Technology Continues to Lead on Clean Air Ambitions

Oct. 1, 2015

The Diesel Technology Forum issued the following statement in response to the revised national ambient air quality standard for ground level ozone issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  

“Today’s announcement by EPA sets the bar higher for cleaner air.  The increasing use of new generation of clean diesel technology will be an important asset for states in helping to achieve these more stringent standards,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, a non-profit group which represents diesel engine, vehicle and equipment makers, fuel refiners and suppliers of engine and emissions control technology. 

“Expanding use of new clean diesel engines is a major factor in reducing ozone precursors like nitrogen oxides (NOx).  Thanks to the availability of cleaner diesel fuel and advanced engines and emissions control technology, diesel has been transformed throughout the last decade in all applications, from heavy duty trucks and construction equipment to electrical generators and passenger vehicles.

New Clean Diesel Trucks Have Reduced NOx by 98 percent

“Today, heavy-duty commercial vehicles manufactured beginning in model year 2010 have reduced emissions of NOx by 98 percent compared to a similar truck built in 1988.  And this newest generation of clean diesel is the new standard in the marketplace, with 21 percent of all trucks on the road nationwide being 2010 and newer. 

“Today, diesel powers more than 95 percent of commercial vehicles and according to research commissioned by the Fuels Institute a diesel engine is expected to be found in 95 to 97 percent of all commercial vehicles by 2023.

American Lung Association Cites Cleaner Diesel Fleets For Air Improvements

“These clean diesel vehicles that have been deployed with the latest generation of clean diesel technology to meet the strictest emissions standards have reduced NOx emissions by almost 1.5 million tons between 2010 and 2014, proving that clean diesel technology can provide enormous clean air benefits to communities while remaining a viable technology for vehicle owners and operators,” said Schaeffer. 

“In fact, in each of the last two years, the American Lung Association, in its annual State of the Air Report identified cleaner diesel fleets as one of the two main contributors to helping the nation achieve cleaner air and meet the national ambient air quality standards.   

California Air Resources Board Projects New Diesels to Further Reduce NOx

According to inventory data compiled by the California Air Resources Board, NOx emissions attributable to heavy-duty diesel vehicles are expected to fall by 53 percent between 2010 and 2020 due to greater adoption of new and newer heavy-duty diesel vehicles using the latest clean diesel technology.   A working paper recently published by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, representing the southern California region that experiences high concentrations of ozone, estimates that NOx emissions attributable to diesel vehicles could fall by 70 percent if all commercial vehicles were powered by an engine that meets or beats the model year 2010 standard 

Evidence suggests that emissions from the latest clean diesel engines may result in even greater air quality benefits.

New Study Highlights Near Zero Emissions From New Diesel Engines

“According to the Advanced Collaborative Emissions Study (ACES) research co-sponsored by EPA and conducted by the Health Effects Institute, new technology diesel engines achieved near-zero emissions performance well below the limit values, with the additional finding of no significant health effects in laboratory animals over lifetime exposure,” said Schaeffer. 

“The diesel industry is building on these clean air accomplishments and now increasingly focused on producing near zero emissions technology that also is more efficient and has lower greenhouse gas emissions as well.”

EPA: New Fuel Economy Rules to Reduce Carbon Emissions by 270 Million Tons

The first ever fuel economy rules for heavy-duty commercial vehicles established for model year 2014 through 2018 will reduce carbon emissions by 270 million tons and save 530 million barrels of crude oil.

“According to estimates from the EPA, technologies deployed to meet these fuel economy targets will also reduce NOx emissions by 107,000 tons by 2018 and another 326,000 tons by 2025,” said Schaeffer. “The proposed rule announced earlier this summer by EPA to expand on these fuel economy targets for heavy-duty vehicles would see another 90,000 tons of NOx reduced by 2025 and 260,000 tons by 2035.” 

New Diesel Technology in Construction, Farm, Diesel Generator Sets, Marine and Rail Equipment Also Reducing Emissions

Beyond commercial vehicles, clean diesel technologies found in off-road equipment will also contribute to achieve clean air standards.

“Low-emissions clean diesel technology is not limited to just new commercial highway trucks,” said Schaeffer.  “New construction and farm equipment, diesel generator sets, marine boats and locomotives reduce emissions of NOx to levels nearly the same as highway vehicles beginning with equipment manufactured as of 2014.”