Nitrogen oxide emissions decrease by 99% in past 10 years for diesel trucks, buses

As the US economic recovery continues to move forward, new clean diesel technology is powering America's freight movement in the most environmentally friendly manner anywhere in the world, according to Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum.

“Over the last 10 years, emissions from heavy-duty diesel trucks and buses have been reduced by 99% for nitrogen oxides (NOx) — an ozone precursor — and 98% for particulate emissions,” Schaeffer said. “Consider that it would take 60 of today's clean diesel trucks to equal the same emissions from one pre-1988 truck.

“In addition, the new ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel that has been required since 2010 has reduced sulfur emissions by 97% — from 500 pm to 15 pm,” he said.

“These historic environmental improvements take an even more important significance when you consider that over 80% of all freight in the United States is moved by diesel-powered trucks, railroads, and marine vessels,” Schaeffer said.

In August 2011, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) established a national program to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and establish new fuel efficiency standards for commercial trucks and buses beginning in 2014 through 2018.

“The US fleet of trucks consumes about 22 billion gallons of diesel fuel every year,” Schaeffer says. “Over the lifetime of the vehicles affected by the new rule, the program is expected to reduce oil consumption by more than 500 million barrels, result in more than $50 billion in net benefits, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 250 million metric tons.

Schaeffer said the new technology has also provided increased efficiency in conjunction with the decrease in emissions. Diesel vehicles manufactured after 2010 are experiencing an average 5% improvement in fuel efficiency.

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