Clean diesel trucks make up 28% of those on US roads

July 1, 2013

More than 28% of all trucks registered in the United States—2.5 million of 8.6 million trucks—are now equipped with advanced new technology clean diesel engines, according to new data compiled by R L Polk and Company for the Diesel Technology Forum (DTF).

The Polk data includes registration information on Class 3-8 trucks from 2007 through 2012 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Beginning in 2007, all heavy-duty diesel trucks sold had to meet particulate emissions levels of 0.01 grams per brake horse-power hour (g/HP-hr)–a level near zero.

“The fact that more than 28% of all trucks on US roads today are new technology diesel engines with near-zero emissions is significant for the environment and the trucking industry,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum. “More than 95% of all heavy-duty trucks are diesel-powered, as are a majority of medium-duty trucks. Diesel power is the driving force today of goods movement by truck in our economy, and it is continuing to play a central role of the United States’ new effort to reduce fuel consumption and lower greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in the coming years.

“These increasing penetration rates are a reflection of the confidence that truckers have in the new technology diesel engines, particularly during the last few years which have been a recessionary period with lower demand for trucking services,” said Schaeffer.

Regionally, the Midwest (31%) has the highest percentage of new diesel trucks, followed by the South (29.8%), the Northeast (29.1%), and the West (26.0%).

“Emissions from today’s diesel trucks and buses are near zero thanks to more efficient engines, more effective emissions control technology, and the nationwide availability of ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel,” said Schaeffer. “The new clean diesel technology has reduced emissions from heavy-duty diesel trucks and buses by 99% for nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 98% for particulate emissions.

“What makes the new diesel technology even more remarkable is model year 2010 and later trucks are experiencing an average of three to five percent improvement in fuel economy. Additional fuel-saving strategies are being developed to improve engine efficiency, vehicle aerodynamics and expanded application of hybrid technology.

“In addition, new diesel technology and ultra-low sulfur diesel are benefitting many of the older diesel trucks built before 2007. Through the use of retrofit upgrades, older diesel engines can improve their performance and reduce key emissions by up to 90%,” said Schaeffer.

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