California remains among the slowest states in the nation to adopt near-zero emission diesel trucking technologies, says new research and analysis from the Diesel Technology Forum(DTF).
Diesel Trucking Technologies Adoption California Rank
According to analysis by the Diesel Technology Forum of 2017 U.S. vehicles in operation data (GVW 3-8), provided by IHS Markit, the state ranks 43rd out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia on a percentage basis for the adoption of the newest and lowest-emitting diesel technologies (MY 2011 and newer engines) in the larger commercial vehicle fleet (Class 3-8 vehicles). While California truckers are buying 33 percent more new diesel-powered trucks than in 2016, only 29 percent of California’s commercial diesel trucks are equipped with the latest generation diesel engines.
Nationwide, diesel remains the technology of choice for commercial trucking, from the ubiquitous white box delivery trucks on up to the largest 18 wheelers, with adoption of the newest, cleanest diesel technologies now at 36 percent – a six percent jump in one year. These clean diesel trucks now make up more than one-third of all trucks on the road, delivering substantial clean air and climate benefits across the United States. In comparison, about 20.4 percent of Class 3-8 trucks use gasoline, 0.4 percent use natural gas, and those powered by other means amount to only 3.8 percent.
“It’s pretty clear that California’s truck and bus fleet rules adopted several years ago have disrupted the natural acquisition and replacement cycles of diesel technology, delaying investment in new technology vehicles until the 2023 compliance date,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum. “The result is that older, higher emitting trucks are staying on the road longer in California, and California’s new-technology adoption rate remains well below the national average.”
California maintains the largest fleet of Class 3-8 commercial trucks in the nation, with more than 1.4 million vehicles on the road. Nearly 70 percent of these are powered by diesel or renewable biodiesel fuel, while 28 percent use gasoline, 1 percent use natural gas, and 1 percent rely on other means.
The sluggish turnover of the state’s oldest trucks to the newest generation of diesel technology represents a significant missed opportunity to make substantial progress toward the state’s ambitious clean air and climate goals.
Upgrading the oldest trucks on California’s roads has removed 2.4 million tonnes of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 139,000 tonnes of particulate matter (PM) from the air since 2007, and saved 5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) and 490 gallons of fuel since 2011, according to the Forum’s analysis of IHS Markit research.
If California’s new-technology diesel adoption rate were to reach 75 percent of the state’s total fleet, in one year the state would remove about 300,000 tonnes of NOx and 15,000 tonnes of PM from the air, and save 2 million tonnes of CO2 and more than 200 million gallons of fuel.
“Even California’s lackluster adoption of the newest-generation diesel technologies has delivered impressive real-world benefits to many of California’s most vulnerable communities: cleaner air, fewer carbon dioxide emissions in the communities in which they operate, as well as dramatic fuel savings to truckers,” said Schaeffer. “If the state were to prioritize – even incentivize – more truckers to move to newer, cleaner diesel technologies, imagine how quickly California could move closer to full clean air compliance. This is why diesel truck and engine manufacturers continue to work closely with the California Air Resources Board and the U.S. EPA on future steps for advanced heavy-duty diesel technology in California.”
The U.S. trucking fleet is transitioning to newer diesel technology which means immediate fuel savings, lower greenhouse gas emissions and cleaner air. According to Fleet Advantage’s latest Truck Lifecycle Data Index, the newest Class 8 diesel trucks can save truckers up to $26,600 in fuel costs over a 2012 model – a 7.9 percent increase in savings, despite higher average diesel prices. These newest trucks also offer significant clean air benefits: NOx emissions that are 99 percent lower than previous generations, along with 98 percent fewer emissions of particulate matter. Beginning in 2011, all new heavy-duty trucks are equipped with selective catalytic reduction and particulate control technologies, which combine to achieve stringent new EPA emissions requirements for NOx emissions of no more than 0.20 grams per brake horsepower hour (g/BHP-hr.). This is in addition to particulate emissions levels of no more than 0.01 grams per brake horsepower hour (g/HP-hr.) established in 2007.
“Especially for the largest of trucks, no other fuel matches what the newest generation of diesel technology continues to improve upon: efficient performance, low-emissions, reliability, durability, low-cost operation, and maximum flexibility in utilization, routing and fueling,” said Schaeffer. “Over the last decade, truck and engine manufacturers and their suppliers have fundamentally transformed diesel technology to near-zero emissions performance while also increasing its fuel efficiency. Diesel’s continued dominance as the technology of choice for heavy-duty trucking reflects the technology’s proven record of continuous improvement and low-cost operation.”