Diesel forging a path forward
Half of commercial trucks now powered by near-zero emissions diesel.
The commercial truck segment in the U.S. has hit a major milestone as more than half of all diesel commercial vehicles on the road are now advanced diesel technology models that minimize the production of emissions through efficient combustion.
According to the Diesel Technology Forum (DTF), and based on IHS Markit data of vehicles in operation as of December 2021, 53 per cent of diesel trucks from model year 2010-onward in the United States are equipped with fuel-efficient diesel engines that achieve near-zero emissions. Remaining emissions from the combustion process in this generation of engine are controlled through advanced technologies such as particulate filters, oxidation catalysts, and selective catalytic reduction systems.
“This is great news for our environment and economy. It shows that our nation’s truckers, and commercial fleet owners, are choosing advanced diesel technology, up 4.2 per cent over the previous year,” stated DTF executive director Allen Schaeffer. “That’s because of its solid track record of performance, reliability, and durability. Advanced diesel technology trucks will continue to dominate the market for these reasons, and many more, for years to come.”
Canadian specific data were not part of the study, however there is considerable alignment of vehicle emissions standards for commercial vehicles between the two countries, making it quite possible that Canadian figures would track on a similar path. In addition to on-road vehicles, diesel remains the prime mover for heavy machinery used in the construction, agriculture and mining sectors.
Schaeffer stated that he’s confident in diesel’s future because those same advanced diesel engines, as well as older diesel engines, are capable of running on low-carbon renewable biofuels. Taken together, he says these elements make diesel technology part of the solution to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The latest generation of advanced diesel technology, standard in commercial trucks on the road since 2011, and farm and construction equipment since 2014, has achieved a reduction of more than 98 per cent in nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter.
“Even as manufacturers begin to develop zero emission technologies, there is a consensus that diesel technology will continue to dominate the heavy-duty commercial trucking sector for decades to come. The increasing adoption of this newest generation of diesel technology and transition away from older generations of technology is the fastest way to realize our national goals of cleaner air and lower greenhouse gas emissions,” added Schaeffer.