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Diesel to Surpass Gasoline as Global Transportation Fuel


Diesel is going to remain the “dominant” growth fuel in transportation for several decades to come, according to U.S. and international energy and transportation experts.

  • ExxonMobil reports that diesel will surpass gasoline as the number one global transportation fuel by 2020. Diesel demand will account for 70 percent of the growth in demand for all transportation fuels through the forecast period to 2040. Although natural gas will play a greater role as a transportation fuel by 2040, it will remain only a small share of the global transportation fuel mix, at 4 percent by 2040, up from today’s 1 percent, according to ExxonMobil’s forecast.
  • The World Energy Outlook reports that diesel fuel will remain the “dominant” growth fuel between now and 2035, according to the International Energy Agency. Globally, the report suggests the possibility of only a 2 percent share of natural gas in the heavy-duty transport market by 2035.
  • The National Petroleum Council in its 2012 report “Advancing Technology for America’s Transportation Future” for the U.S. Department of Energy stated: “Diesel engines will remain the powertrain of choice for HD (heavy-duty) vehicles for decades to come because of their power and efficiency."

With more than 80 percent of cargo in the U.S. transported by diesel power and more than 90 percent worldwide, advancements in diesel technology is playing a major role in improving fuel efficiency and reducing vehicle emissions.

The new generation of clean diesel technology, ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, cleaner engines and advanced emissions control technology, provides both environmental and economic benefits to the U.S. As policymakers look to promote cleaner, more fuel-efficient technologies, its use will grow along with other competitive alternatives.

Diesel engines were originally invented to run on vegetable oils. Today, most diesel engines can run on high-quality blends of biodiesel with little modification as well as next-generation, drop-in renewable diesel fuels which offer even further benefits. This flexibility of the diesel platform can accelerate the introduction of these renewable diesel fuels across the economy.

While virtually all the renewable diesel fuel being produced in the U.S. today is biodiesel, next generation renewable diesel fuels, which offer additional economic and environmental benefits are quickly being developed. The Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Biomass Program is working with the private sector to further increase the availability of advanced biofuels to improve energy security, stimulate the economy and create green jobs.

Diesel Facts

  • More than 95 percent of all heavy-duty trucks are diesel-powered, as are a majority of medium-duty trucks.
  • Emissions from today’s diesel trucks and buses are near zero thanks to more efficient engines, more effective emissions control technology and the nationwide availability of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel.
  • New clean diesel technology has reduced emissions from heavy-duty diesel trucks and buses by 99 percent for nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 98 percent for particulate emissions.
  • New ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel has reduced sulfur emissions by 97 percent.
  • New diesel tech-nology can reduce emissions from older diesel trucks and buses by as much as 90 percent.