has been a popular choice of fuel for commercial fleet vehicles for decades due
to its high-energy content and efficiency. However, in recent years, the need
for reducing GHG emissions has led to a reassessment of diesel's suitability
and sparked the development of cleaner diesel technologies. This research
evaluates the latest advancements and their implications for the use of diesel
fuel in commercial vehicles.
Advancements in Diesel Technology
technological advancements have recently been made in the diesel industry to
curb emissions and improve fuel efficiency. These include innovations such as
Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems, Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF),
Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR), and biodiesel fuels.
Catalytic Reduction (SCR): SCR is an advanced active
emissions control technology system that injects a liquid-reductant agent
through a special catalyst into the exhaust stream of a diesel engine. This
process converts nitrogen oxides, one of the major air pollutants, into
nitrogen, water, and a tiny amount of carbon dioxide, significantly reducing
the emissions profile of diesel engines.
Particulate Filters (DPF): DPFs remove the particulate
matter or soot from the exhaust gas of a diesel engine, thus minimizing the
emission of harmful pollutants. Recent enhancements to DPF technologies have
increased their effectiveness and longevity.
- Exhaust Gas
Recirculation (EGR): EGR works by recirculating a
portion of an engine's exhaust gas back to the engine cylinders. This can lower
temperatures in the combustion chamber, resulting in reduced nitrogen oxide
- Biodiesel: Biodiesel
is a renewable, biodegradable fuel manufactured domestically from vegetable
oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant grease. It is a cleaner-burning
replacement for petroleum diesel and can be used in diesel engines with little
or no modifications.
GHG Emissions in GGE
the GHG emissions of diesel fuel involves comparing it with gasoline in terms
of GGE. For the comparison, it's important to note that diesel fuel contains
approximately 11% more energy than gasoline per gallon, thus, a gallon of
diesel fuel has more carbon and will emit more CO2 when burned than a gallon of
gasoline (EPA, 2021).
this study, we use the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) measurements,
where 1 GGE = 125,000 BTU. Given that diesel has about 138,690 BTU/gallon, one
gallon of diesel is equivalent to 1.11 GGE. Therefore, to calculate the
emissions, we need to account for the higher energy content of diesel, making
the diesel to GGE comparison more accurate.
Effect on Sustainability
Sustainability: With the advent of cleaner
diesel technologies, diesel can continue to be a cost-effective choice for
commercial fleets, particularly for heavy-duty vehicles. New diesel
technologies have also improved fuel economy, reducing operating costs over the
Sustainability: Cleaner diesel technologies have
significantly reduced diesel's environmental impact, but it still contributes
to GHG emissions. Biodiesel, particularly, is a more sustainable alternative,
given its lower emissions and renewability.
Sustainability: Reduced emissions from cleaner
diesel technologies can improve air quality, resulting in health benefits.
However, diesel vehicles are typically noisier than their electric
counterparts, which can impact noise pollution levels.
Environmental, and Social Cost
total cost of using diesel in commercial vehicles goes beyond the purchase
price of the fuel. It includes environmental costs such as climate change
effects due to GHG emissions, health costs due to air pollution, and social
costs such as noise pollution. These "external costs" are difficult
to quantify precisely, but studies suggest that they can be substantial,
warranting the need for more sustainable transport solutions.
of the Growth Rate of Diesel as Commercial Vehicle Fuel
the progress in cleaner diesel technologies, the commercial vehicle sector is
experiencing a transition towards electric and hydrogen fuel cell technologies.
This shift is driven by increasing regulatory pressure to reduce emissions, the
falling cost of batteries, and a growing public interest in sustainability.
this environment, the growth rate of diesel as a commercial vehicle fuel is
expected to decrease. Nevertheless, given the existing infrastructure and the
current lack of feasible alternatives for long-haul and heavy-duty vehicles,
diesel will likely remain a significant part of the commercial vehicle fuel mix
in the near to medium term.
in diesel technology have reduced its environmental impact and improved its
cost-effectiveness, sustaining its use in the commercial fleet vehicle sector.
However, with the shift towards zero-emission vehicles, the role of diesel is
expected to diminish over time. As technology and infrastructure for alternative
fuels continue to develop, a more sustainable transportation future seems
the forecasted decrease in the growth rate of diesel as a commercial vehicle
fuel, the transition towards more sustainable alternatives will need to be
strategically managed to ensure energy security, economic stability, and social
acceptance. The pace of this transition will be influenced by a combination of
factors, including government policy, market forces, technological advances,
and societal preferences. These variables should be continuously monitored to
ensure an accurate understanding of the ongoing evolution in the commercial