The Diesel Technology Forum testified before the House Highway and Transit Subcommittee that clean diesel technology continues to be the "overwhelming choice" for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and will be so for the next several decades.
The subcommittee hearing discussed the topic of "Improving the Nation's Highway Freight Network." Alan Schaeffer, executive director of DTF, provided in written testimony a statistic that 98 percent of trucks and equipment are powered by ultra-low sulfur diesel because the fuel is more energy dense, which increases efficiency in the engine. A similar percentage of the 480,000 school buses in the U.S. national fleet are also powered by diesel.
But diesel advocates point out that clean diesel and the new engine aftertreatment technologies offer similar emissions reductions as the alternative fuels, as the newest diesel engines have nearly eliminated particulate matter, or soot, and oxides of nitrogen that contribute to smog.
“Our nation is in the increasingly favorable position of being able to determine our energy future, from expanded use of domestically produced oil and natural gas to renewable energy sources such as high-quality bio-based diesel fuels," Schaeffer wrote. "All of these fuels will be important in the future, and the diesel engine is the foundation for taking advantage of this position for energy efficient goods movement or infrastructure development no matter what fuel is burned or in what type of vehicle or machine using it."
He added that clean diesel helps sustain 1.25 million jobs and, in 2009, helped generate $186 billion in national income.
"An efficient goods movement industry and infrastructure is vital to our economic prosperity and global competitiveness," he explained. "The expanded use of clean diesel power will enable the U.S. to best move more goods using less fuel and to maintain and improve the nation's lifelines of commerce — our ports, roads, bridges, waterways and railways."
Additionally, $46.2 billion of diesel technology (engines, vehicles, equipment, parts and fuel) was exported that year, representing 4.4 percent of total U.S. exports. One of every four diesel engines manufactured in the U.S. are destined for overseas markets. Schaeffer said clean diesel saves an average of $3,500 in fuel costs each year for a typical Class 8 heavy-duty truck while conserving 21 barrels of crude oil and 875 gallons of fuel, and eliminating 5.7 tonnes of carbon dioxided emissions.