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Report: Diesel Engines Are Here for Decades to Come

August 03, 2012

Washington, D.C. – Clean diesel engines will continue to be the dominant power source for heavy-duty vehicles in the United States for “decades to come because of their power and efficiency”, according to a newly released study prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy.

The report – “Advancing Technology for America’s Transportation Future” – was authored by the National Petroleum Council (NPC) at the request of the Energy Secretary Stephen Chu. The two-year study examines fuels, technologies, industry practices, and government policies through 2030 for auto, truck, air, rail, and waterborne transport and potential industry and government actions that could reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from American transportation by 50 percent by 2050.

“The National Petroleum Council findings confirm what transportation officials and industry leaders have already determined – that the continued advancements in clean diesel technology will continue to make diesel the dominant power source for heavy-duty trucks throughout the United States for decades to come,” said Allen Schaeffer, the executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum (DTF).

The NPC report states: “Diesel engines will remain the powertrain of choice for HD vehicles for decades to come because of their power and efficiency. There are, however, opportunities to improve the technology. Significant fuel economy improvements in diesel powered trucks are possible. Indeed, the fuel economy (mpg) for new Class 7&8 HD vehicles, which consume more than 70 percent of the fuel in the trucking fleet, could be doubled.”

The report recommended that government policies should be technology neutral. “The NPC report also recommended against having the government attempt to pick winners and loser in transportation,” Schaeffer said.

The report stated: “There is a great deal of uncertainty regarding which individual fuel-vehicle systems will overcome technology hurdles to become economically and environmentally attractive by 2050. Therefore, government policies should be technology neutral while market dynamics drive commercialization.”

“The NPC recommendation urging technology neutrality is one the Administration should heed, particularly given past experience favoring certain energy sources and technologies,” Schaeffer said.

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