Diesel Technology Forum Comments on Importance of Diesel to Freight Transportation

As part of National Transportation Week, the Diesel Technology Forum reflects on the impact diesel has on powering America's freight transportation network.

As the U.S. marks the 50th anniversary of National Transportation Week, clean diesel power continues to transport an overwhelming majority of America’s products from coast to coast and throughout the world. And clean diesel automobiles are on the verge of increasing their importance in personal transportation throughout the United States.

“Like America, Diesel Has Transformed Over the Past 50 Years”

“As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of National Transportation Week, it’s interesting to note that diesel power continues to be America’s number one freight transportation energy source - just as it has been for the past five decades,” says Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum, a non-profit association that promotes the use of clean diesel technology.

“And like America, diesel has transformed over the past 50 years. It now has virtually zero emissions and the new clean diesel technology is most efficient and cost-effective of all transportation modes.

“Modern diesel technology exemplifies U.S. innovation and technological advancements. The clean diesel industry manufacturers and supplies the energy efficient, low-emissions products that are not merely aspirations of possible future energy sources, but highly valued exports that are sought after today by nations in all regions of the world.

“Diesel is the prime mover of virtually every mode of freight transportation today and its transformation to a new low-emissions technology makes it a key technology for sustainable goods movement in the future."

Without Diesel, Our Economy Would Come To An Immediate Standstill

“Diesel is a major economic factor and job creator in the U.S. economy and is vital to America’s economic recovery and growth as it transports virtually every commodity available to American consumers,” Schaeffer says. “Diesel-powered trucks, trains, ships and intermodal systems moved 83% of freight by value and 85% by weight.

“Internationally, over 90% of all global trade is moved by diesel power.

“Diesel is not only the overwhelming transportation source for moving goods throughout the U.S., it is also the major power source for moving America’s economy. Without diesel transportation, our economy would come to an immediate standstill,” Schaeffer says.

Clean Diesel Auto Sales Are Increasing In U.S. – And Projected To Grow Significantly

“One of the most exciting aspects of clean diesel technology is the emerging market growth in the passenger car and light truck segments. While diesel cars account for about 50% of all new sales in Europe, the number is a more modest 3% in the U.S. But domestic diesel sales increased in 2011 and 2010 and clean diesel sales have increased by 35% during the first quarter of 2012.

“More than 10 new clean diesel cars and light duty trucks will be introduced in the U.S. in the next two years by Audi, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes and Volkswagen. This renaissance in new autos in the U.S. market will greatly increase the popularity of clean diesels domestically.

“The high fuel prices have played a major role in this renew interest in diesel automobiles. New clean diesel cars are 20 to 40% more fuel efficient than their gasoline counterparts and they reduce the CO2 footprint. In addition, standard diesel cars can use renewable diesel fuels like biodiesel which reduce greenhouse gas emissions up to 60% and also reduce petroleum consumption,” Schaeffer says.

A Bright Future for Clean Diesel - New Federal Fuel Efficiency Standards Will Further Increase Use of Diesel in Trucks & Autos

According to a recent economic report released by the Diesel Technology Forum: “As policymakers look to promote cleaner, more fuel efficient technologies, its use will grow along with other competitive alternatives. Diesel technology’s future value is further enhanced by its suitability for hybrid applications and its readiness to utilize a diverse range of first and second generation renewable and biodiesel fuels.

“National fuel economy standards for cars and light-duty trucks beginning in 2017 are expected to be met in part by an increasing number of clean diesel passenger vehicle choices. Similarly, first-ever fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty commercial trucks and buses beginning in 2014 will drive further innovation and efficiency gains in diesel technology as a key compliance strategy.”