The essential role and the fuel-savings and emissions benefits of new clean diesel technology were highlighted by the Diesel Technology Forum in a statement before the District of Columbia (DC) City Council on the Omnibus DC Sustainability Act.
"Diesel technology plays a vital role in the District of Columbia. It powers vehicles that provide key government services such as solid waste, public transportation and snow removal. It is also the primary workhorse technology powering the trucks and vans of hundreds of small service and delivery business serving the District, and over 3,500 DC residents have made diesel their personal transportation choice for their cars, trucks or SUVs," said Allen Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum, a Maryland-based national non-profit educational group.
The Omnibus Sustainability Act proposed legislation includes a provision that as currently written, requires that "…no vehicle shall be registered in DC that operates exclusively on the combustion of petroleum diesel fuel beginning January 1, 2018."
"Clean diesel technology must be a key component of the District's sustainability initiative because of its superior energy efficiency, near-zero emissions, and ability to use renewable fuels. We don't believe that the intent of this legislation is to prevent the use of diesel engines, but rather to seek some new approaches to reducing emissions and we look forward to working with District leaders toward that end," said Schaeffer.
Clean diesel reducing emissions and saving fuel in the District of Columbia today
The use of diesel technology in the District is already delivering significant clean air and fuel saving benefits. Since 2007 all diesel fuel sold in the District (and nationwide) for highway vehicles has been ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel which reduces particulate emissions from all diesel vehicles, with most significant emissions benefits from 2007 and newer model year vehicles. The current EPA standards for all new diesel engines in cars, trucks, SUVs and commercial vehicles as well as even most off-road engines and machines now require near zero levels of emissions for particulate matter (PM), or soot, and oxides of nitrogen (NOx), a smog forming compound.
"These proven clean diesel technologies are on the road today. Here in the District, at the end of 2012, just over 19 percent of all registered Class 3-8 heavy-duty trucks are clean diesel (2007 or newer model years). Nationwide, roughly one-in-three heavy-duty trucks is a new-generation clean diesel vehicle that is model year 2007 and newer," said Schaeffer.
In the District, heavy-duty diesel vehicles can be found performing vital city functions such as refuse collection and powering fire and rescue vehicles, and moving freight including long-haul and short-haul delivery trucks. Nationwide these new clean diesel trucks reduced soot by 27,000 tons and NOx by almost 1 million tons, according to our 2012 research.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (WMATA) operates hundreds of clean diesel buses and new clean diesel-electric hybrid buses which together make up the largest share of engine technologies providing public transportation for District residents, according to the American Public Transportation Association.
Clean diesel cars set to take lead in alternative fueled vehicles
Clean diesel is an increasingly popular choice for cars, SUVs and pickup trucks. According to the Fuels Institute, diesel cars and pickups will make up anywhere from 7 percent to 17 percent of the light-duty market by 2023, making diesel the number one alternative fuel powertrain beating electric plug-ins, hydrogen fuel cell and natural gas powered vehicles. Light-duty diesel cars and trucks typically achieve a 20 percent-40 percent improvement in fuel economy and a 10 percent to 20 percent reduction in emissions relative to comparable gasoline powered vehicles, while delivering superior driving performance and higher resale values.
Estimates of as much as 560,000,000 gallons of fuel can be saved thanks to fuel efficiencies created by new diesel technology.
Clean diesel trucks make up 28 percent of all trucks.
Clean Energy Fuels Corp. announced a multi-year natural gas fueling agreement to support 36 new natural gas trucks deployed by Raven Transport Inc.