WASHINGTON — U.S. trucking companies are buying more new, low emission, diesel technology than ever before, a new report from the Diesel Technology Forum (DTF) has found.
Research shows the number of new near-zero emission diesel trucks on the road increased 10.2% between 2021 and 2022. Near-zero emission trucks are advanced diesel technology manufactured in the 2010 and later model years.
According to DTF’s analysis of S&P Global Mobility TIPNet Vehicles in Operation Data, as of December 2022:
Diesel dominates the trucking sector: For the largest commercial trucks (Class 8) in operation, 96.8% are advanced diesel technology; 1.3% are CNG, 0.2% are electric, and the remainder are gasoline or other fuels.
For the entire (Class 3-8) commercial truck population of over 15 million vehicles, 75.6% are powered by diesel, gasoline (22.9%), compressed natural gas (0.46%), other (ethanol, fuel cell, LNG, propane, 0.85%) and electric (0.09%).
Illinois is the state with the fastest-growing registration of new advanced diesel technology Class 8 commercial trucks, up 4.6% as of December 2022 as compared to 2021.
The population of near-zero emissions diesel technology trucks is growing. They comprise 57% of all commercial diesel trucks (Class 3-8) on the roads today. These trucks are equipped with particulate filters and selective catalytic reduction systems (SCR) that achieve near-zero levels of emissions. That’s a 10.2% increase in one year (2022 vs. 2021).
A total of 65.7% of all commercial diesel trucks (Class 3-8) on the road are 2007 and newer and are equipped with particulate filters so they achieve near-zero emissions for particulates.
Indiana ranks first of the states for the highest percentage of registrations of 2010 and later model year near-zero emission diesel trucks (73.2%). Next in the rankings is Utah (66.2%), Pennsylvania (66.0%), the District of Columbia (65.4%), Texas (63.6%), Oklahoma (62.6%), Florida (62.3%), Illinois (60.6%), Louisiana (59.2%), and Wisconsin (59.1%). California lags the national average, taking the 35th spot (51.6%).
There are 125 times more new generation advanced diesel trucks on the road in California than electric trucks.
“Nearly 7-million new-technology diesel trucks are on the roads, delivering our goods and services with near-zero emissions,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the DTF “Nationwide, for every electric commercial truck on the road, there are nearly 1,100 powered by internal combustion engines.”
According to this most recent analysis, internal combustion engines (diesel, gasoline, natural gas and propane) power about 99.91% of the nation’s trucking fleet.
“As the trucking industry explores new fuels, including all electric and fuel cell technology, it is clear that diesel and other internal combustion engines are going to continue to play a dominant role for years to come,” Schaeffer said.
The DTF notes that diesel technology has fundamentally transformed over the last decade, with advancements leading to achieving near-zero emissions beginning with the 2010 model year.
“Its continued dominance in trucking reflects diesel’s record of continuous improvement and low-cost operation,” the DTF study notes. “And now we can see the next milestone for advanced diesel technology emerging in California in 2024 and other parts of the country in 2027. That next generation of diesel will further reduce NOx emissions by an additional 50-80% over current models.”
The study further states that “no other fuel yet matches the full combination of what the newest generation of diesel technology offers: efficient performance, reliability, durability, low-cost operation, high market value for used products, maximum driving range, flexibility in utilization, routing and ready access to servicing, parts and fueling throughout the nation.”
DTF researchers said that while alternative technologies may hold promise for the future, they all require some level of compromise, have higher upfront costs and have very limited supporting infrastructure for fueling and service.
“Decarbonizing the economy will take time and require many different types of solutions for different sectors,” Schaeffer said. “There isn’t a one-size or one-fuel fits all answer. In the meantime, accelerating the turnover of the existing fleet, continued improvement of internal combustion engines and utilizing low-carbon renewable fuels is just as important as a zero-emission vehicle approach to help achieve meaningful progress toward climate goals.”
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.