In a letter to New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, the Diesel Technology Forum called for the Garden State to take a technology neutral approach as the best strategy for achieving near-term reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from commercial vehicles.
“The Strategic Funding Plan for New Jersey’s portion of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) announced that eligibility for funding for commercial vehicles would only be made available for the purchase of all-electric options. The approach presupposes that all-electric over-the-road trucks of many types and configurations are available today and there is robust statewide charging infrastructure to support these trucks, neither of which is true today,” said Allen Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum, a national not-for-profit advocacy representing the manufacturers of diesel technology.
While manufacturers are working to develop fully electric trucks, the reality is that it may be many years before they achieve the commercial scale and significant market penetration necessary to deliver meaningful benefits. Until that time, progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other criterial pollutants will be delayed under the current approach.
There are fuel efficient, low greenhouse emissions options available today in the form of the newest generation of advanced diesel technology and the use of advanced renewable biofuels. Even before the current COVID-19 situation, deployment and commercialization of fully electric technologies in the largest commercial vehicle segments was projected to be several years out.
Consider a trucker today with a ten-year old truck. By providing funding assistance to purchase a new technology diesel truck this year, a new more efficient diesel truck can save 960 gallons of fuel and eliminate nearly 10 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Class 7 and 8 trucks are responsible for 60 percent of all fuel consumed and greenhouse gas emissions generated by the fleet of commercial vehicles.
“Beyond the efficiency gains of replacing old engines with new, using advanced biofuels like renewable diesel fuel and blends of biodiesel further enhances a near term strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In California, the use of these fuels are delivering the greatest reduction in greenhouse gasses and have eliminated almost five times as much greenhouse gas emissions as electrification of cars, trucks and buses,” said Schaeffer.
“Replacing older and higher emitting trucks with new diesel options is proven to deliver immediate term clean air benefits to those communities located in areas of poor air quality. As it presently stands, the governor’s plan could very well mean a lost opportunity for meaningful clean air progress as well as greenhouse gas reductions for this generation. It’s like waiting for mortgage rates to hit zero before buying a house even though current rates may be at historic lows.”