The percentage of commercial diesel trucks on U.S. roads that use the newest generation of diesel technologies, model year 2011 and newer, has risen 600 basis points to 36%, according to new research from the Diesel Technology Forum. The commercial vehicles included in the research range from box delivery trucks to the largest big rigs, or Class 8 trucks.
In 2016, the adoption percentage was 30%, and in 2015, it was 25.7%. By comparison, about 21% of all commercial trucks use gasoline, and about 4% use other fuels, with natural gas accounting for less than 1%, said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum.
“The more than 4.9 million new-technology diesel trucks now on the road have removed more than 26 million tonnes of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 59 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air,” Schaeffer said. “On average, truckers saved $2,600 in fuel, which adds up to 138 million barrels of crude oil. That’s 50% of the entire U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, saved by just a few thousand trucks.”
Despite the higher diesel fuel costs, the newest Class 8 diesel trucks can save truckers 7.9%, or up to $26,000, in fuel costs, compared to a 2012 model, according to Fleet Advantage’s Truck Lifecycle Data Index. Other benefits of the newer trucks, compared to older ones, include a 99% decrease in NOx emissions and a 98% decrease in emissions of particulate matter. Starting in 2011, new heavy-duty trucks were equipped with selection catalytic reduction and particulate control technologies. Combined, the technologies allowed the trucks to meet EPA emissions requirements for NOx emissions of no more than 0.20 grams per brake horsepower hour and for particulate emissions of no more than 0.01 grams per brake horsepower hour, a standard established in 2007.