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ATRI: Renewable diesel beats batteries in decarbonization

April 25, 2024
New report finds renewable diesel outperforms battery-electric vehicles in equipment and infrastructure costs—and even trucking’s environmental impact

There might be a better path to transportation decarbonization than manufactured battery-electric vehicle adoption after all. Recently published research shows BEVs might not even be the most effective path—because renewable diesel potentially is far better.

The new report from the American Transportation Research Institute implies that, for the trucking industry, renewable diesel can outperform BEVs in vehicle and infrastructure costs, and even environmental impact.

According to the Renewable Diesel—A Catalyst for Decarbonization report, adopting BEVs to reduce emissions is nearly six times more expensive than renewable diesel. While electric infrastructure and vehicle purchase costs over 15 years could cost $1.19 trillion, sufficient renewable diesel subsidies to lower emissions could cost $203 billion.

“This is a big difference,” said Jeffrey Short, ATRI vice president. “It’s nearly six times more expensive to get the same outcome as far as CO2—and we haven’t even really gotten to the fact that, operationally, the battery electric vehicles to do the long-haul job don’t even exist today.

Our scenario assumes that they will exist, but they do not currently, and that is of great concern.”

The report finds that renewable diesel is not only cheaper to adopt than BEVs—it may also produce fewer lifecycle CO2 emissions per truck.

Read more at FleetOwner.com, a Bulk Transporter affiliate.

About the Author

Jeremy Wolfe | Editor

Editor Jeremy Wolfe joined the FleetOwner team in February 2024. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with majors in English and Philosophy. He previously served as Editor for Endeavor Business Media's Water Group publications.