Diesel is the predominant technology in commercial trucking, school, and transit bus sectors, according to the Diesel Technology Forum’s analysis.  -  Photo: Isuzu

Diesel is the predominant technology in commercial trucking, school, and transit bus sectors, according to the Diesel Technology Forum’s analysis.

Photo: Isuzu

A new analysis from Diesel Technology Forum highlights the role of existing and emerging fuels and technologies in powering the nation’s commercial trucks.

“It’s a very dynamic time for fuels, technology and mobility and it is important to understand which technologies are powering these sectors today to better inform our understanding and in making decisions about the future,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum.

Diesel is the predominant technology in commercial trucking, school, and transit bus sectors, according to the Diesel Technology Forum’s analysis of data sourced from S&P Global Mobility TIPNet data of vehicles in operation for Class 3-8 as of December 2021.

This analysis found 76% of the approximately 15 million commercial trucks (Class 3-8) that make up the nation’s fleet run on diesel power. Of those, the newest generation of advanced diesel technology models now account for 53% of that fleet.

Other fuels that play a role in commercial trucking include gasoline (23%) and compressed natural gas (0.4%). Electric and other categories each register less than 1%. Of the largest trucks (Class 8) in operation, 97% are diesels. About 32% of all electric trucks nationwide are in California, where for every electric truck there are about 300 diesel trucks (all years, Classes 3-8).

Diesel fuel still powers the large majority of Class 3-8 commercial trucks, with gasoline coming in at number 2 and natural gas a distant third.  -  Source: Diesel Technology Forum

Diesel fuel still powers the large majority of Class 3-8 commercial trucks, with gasoline coming in at number 2 and natural gas a distant third.

Source: Diesel Technology Forum

Last year, Indiana had the largest amount of new generation diesel trucks registered (69.3%), followed by Utah (63.2%), Pennsylvania (62.8%), Texas (60.1%), Oklahoma (60.0%), Florida (59.1%), the District of Columbia (58.4%), Illinois (56.2%), Maryland (55.7%), and Wisconsin (55.5%).

For the largest commercial trucks (Class 8), 62.5% of diesels on the road are 2007 and newer which means they are equipped with at least a diesel particulate filter. For gasoline vehicles that make up about a quarter of all commercial trucks (Class 3-8), more than half (57.5%) of those in operation are 2007 and newer model years.

The significance of the model years (2007 and 2010 and later MY) relates to emissions standards and the introduction of new emissions controls such as particulate filters, oxidation catalysts, and selective catalytic reduction systems. This enables new diesel engines to achieve near-zero emissions with increasing fuel efficiency and lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. 

In previous research commissioned for DTF, AutoForecast Solutions found that increasing the number of advanced diesel technology trucks on the road will eliminate more than 1.3 billion metric tons of CO2 during this decade.

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