Good News for Diesel

Yes, that headline is correct.

Yes, that headline is correct. According to the Diesel Technology Forum (DFT), “new data gathered from the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program run by the California Air Resources Board, biodiesel and renewable diesel fuel deliver the state’s biggest reduction in transportation-related sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.”

Numbers for 2018 show that biodiesel and renewable diesel fuels—which are categorized by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “advanced biofuels”—eliminated 4.3 million tons of carbon dioxide. Points out Allen Schaeffer, executive director of DFT, “Even though battery electric technologies dominate the headlines, electric cars and trucks in California resulted in only 1.2 million tons of CO2 reductions in 2018.”


(Image source: Diesel Technology Forum)

The proliferation of Teslas notwithstanding, one has to assume that the number of diesel-powered vehicles in California presently dwarfs that of electric vehicles, especially when things like city buses are taken into account: DFT points out that cities including Oakland, San Francisco, Sacramento, and San Diego “exclusively use renewable diesel fuel in city-owned heavy-duty trucks, buses and equipment.” One result is that because the San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Agency is using advanced diesel in its 632 transit buses, more than 10,000 tons of CO2 isn’t being produced. Still, this is impressive by any measure and bodes well for compression ignition engines.

However, given the de-emphasis of diesel engines for passenger car applications and but minimal numbers in SUVs, seems like the advanced diesel fuels are going to have their biggest impact through heavy-duty vehicles that are capable of using the fuels.