‘Near-zero’ diesel equipment now powers 57% of Classes 3-8 U.S. trucks

Diesel-powered trucks continue to generate carbon dioxide, but the Diesel Technology Forum says more than half of those on the road are now “near-zero emissions” models that dramatically slash NOx and particulate matter.

The number of such trucks on the road increased 10.2% between 2021 and 2022, the forum says, referring to equipment with 2010 and later model years.

Of the Class 8 trucks in that category, 95.4% run on diesel, 2.1% run on compressed natural gas (CNG), 0.3% are electric, and the rest run on gasoline or other fuels.

near-zero diesel use
(Infographic: Diesel Technology Forum)

The near-zero diesel models account for 57% of the Classes 3-8 diesel-powered trucks on the road, reducing emissions with particulate filters and selective catalytic reduction systems.

Three-quarters (75.6%) of more than 15 million Classes 3-8 commercial trucks in the U.S. are powered by diesel; followed by gasoline (22.9%); CNG (0.46%); other fuels like ethanol, hydrogen, liquefied natural gas, and propane (0.85%); and electric sources (0.09%).

About two-thirds (65.7%) of Classes 3-8 diesel-powered trucks are 2007 and newer, and equipped with particulate filters.

Diesel dominating over electric

In a thinly veiled swipe at the California Air Resources Board’s push for truly zero-emission vehicles, the forum notes there are 125 times more late-generation diesel trucks than electric models.

“Nationwide, for every electric commercial truck on the road, there are nearly 1,100 powered by internal combustion engines,” executive director Allen Schaeffer said in a press release.

“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.”

The next generation of diesel equipment will reduce NOx emissions by another 50-80%, the forum adds.

Forum members are involved in producing diesel engines, emissions controls, petroleum-based fuels, and biofuels.

Have your say

This is a moderated forum. Comments will no longer be published unless they are accompanied by a first and last name and a verifiable email address. (Today's Trucking will not publish or share the email address.) Profane language and content deemed to be libelous, racist, or threatening in nature will not be published under any circumstances.