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  November 1st, 2016 | Written by

Clean Diesel: Key for Meeting U.S. Vehicle Fuel Economy Targets

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  • “We are confident about the future role of clean diesel in the U.S. market.”
  • Manufacturers of eight brands have expressed the importance of technology for their product lineups.
  • Many diesel models are closer to achieving future fuel economy and greenhouse case targets today than gasoline cars.

For achieving the future U.S. fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) requirements, clean diesel remains a key strategy based on its proven efficiencies, low emissions and ability to preserve consumer choice, according to Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum.

Speaking at the Ninth Integer Emissions Summit & DEF Forum USA 2016 in Chicago, Schaeffer, stated that “based on what we hear from manufacturers, what we have seen in our own opinion surveys and additional analysis, we are confident about the future role of clean diesel in the U.S. market despite the VW diesel emissions situation that has played out over the last year.”

In a scandal that broke last year, Volkswagen managers were found to have cheated on emission tests on 11 million cars in several countries. In a settlement with the U.S. federal government and the California Air Resources Board, the German automaker agree to pay $2.7 billion to mitigate air emissions and $2 billion to invest in green vehicle technology in areas where its defective cars are in operation.

According to Schaeffer, current data indicates that manufacturers of eight different brands have publicly expressed the continued importance of diesel technology for their product lineups over the last year. In various opinion surveys conducted since last November, the results have shown that consumers are differentiating their views regarding the VW emissions situation from diesel technology as a whole, and survey data shows no change in the last five years in a favorable/unfavorable rating for diesel technology. By the end of 2015, four states recorded double-digit increases in their clean diesel car registrations: California, Tennessee, Idaho, and Nevada.

Consumers remain attracted to the diesel option, Schaeffer noted. “Year-to-date, diesel car and light truck sales are up 6.4 percent,” he added, “outpacing the overall auto market, which suggests a high confidence in the technology and the new products with diesel engine options.”

Schaeffer also said that looking at technical comments filed on the Technical Assessment Report found that many diesel models currently on the market are closer to achieving the future fuel economy and GHG targets today than gasoline counterparts.

Taken together, along with new diesel engine options included in future product announcements the findings and observations suggest continued growth opportunity for diesel options in the U.S. light-duty market, Schaeffer said.

The Integer Summit is annually attended by hundreds of U.S. and international senior executives in the emission control industry.