Study: 1 in 10 US Vehicles To Be Diesels by 2015

Basing its bullishness for diesel proliferation on a study done by Carnegie Mellon University, German company Bosch says to get ready for 10 percent of all American vehicles to be diesel powered within the next three years.

Said study, which was undertaken in 2009, compiled information based on public understanding of diesel passenger vehicles and factors affecting diesel purchase by consumers.

Additionally, more recent information from CNW Research has apparently bolstered the argument, citing greater awareness of clean diesel technology and lower cost premiums for diesel against gasoline than in the past.

It’s long been recognized that diesel cars can be up to 30-percent more fuel efficient than their gasoline counterparts and can in cases deliver a driving range almost double – or as much as 700 miles versus a typical 350-400 mile radius for gasoline cars.

As a result, provided the vehicle is maintained, diesels can deliver significant cost savings for their drivers over the course of ownership, something that would clearly resonate with most people.

That said, Bosch’s assertion that the U.S. diesel market will soar to 10 percent in under three years seems more than a little on the optimistic side.

However, the data the company bases its argument on does include pickup trucks, and in the heavy-duty segment, diesels already have a more than 50 percent take rate. Currently however, not a single diesel-powered vehicle offered in the U.S. achieves true “mainstream” status, although the VW Jetta TDI comes close.

And more are on their way, including the Chevrolet Cruze diesel, based on GM’s successful compact that sold 232,000 units last year. Further, Jeep is offering yet another oil-burning Grand Cherokee, and Audi will have its diesel A4 – based on its best selling model. And with possibly a Mazda diesel on the market too, there are indicators diesels could see significant gains in coming years.

That said, government legislation and proposed Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards are heavily skewed toward hybrid and electric vehicles, thus major challenges for diesel acceptance remain. Indeed, Mercedes Benz and VW do not support the new federal regulations because there is no provision for diesel credits.

So, given the hurdles to many oil burners meeting U.S. emissions regulations, perhaps Bosch’s stance is indeed a little too optimistic.

Providing further fuel to the notion that Bosch may have its data skewed is the fact that it is a manufacturer of diesel engine components including high-pressure injectors and fuel pumps, so it has a vested interest in seeing significant growth in the diesel market stateside.

But as a final counterpoint we’ll end this by throwing out that old standby of a realist’s retort and merely say, you never know what the future actually holds, do you?

Green Car Reports


  • James Davis

    Diesel is $0.30 to $0.50 higher than gasoline. The greatest majority of people in America cannot afford gasoline; what makes this automaker think that they can, or even would want to, afford diesel and then an over priced vehicle to go with it? There are only two diesel pumps where I live and there is several miles between them. Diesel is very dirty and you get a sore throat when you breathe the fumes from it, and children get respiratory problems. Why compound the problems we already have…buy an electric vehicle and get rid of all the pollutions that cause health problems. Diesel is a causer of health problems.

  • FamilyGuy

    But Diesel is more expensive and off sets the improved MPG.

  • AP

    James, new diesels are much cleaner than before, and the sulfur content in diesel has been reduced so much in the US that there is hardly any diesel smell.

    I used to hate diesels – now they seem pretty good.

    As to why not buy an electric car instead? Range and cost are a good start.

  • Duude

    A portion of the higher cost for diesel fuel is due to a limited capacity to refine nearly as much as we really need. US refineries are already refining aboout 65 different formulations of gasoline all through the year leaving less capacity available for diesel. Diesel is actually less refined than gasoline, but the low sulfur variety diesel adds some cost back on. But with the advent of Blue Tech, most of the ‘dirty fuel’ arguments ought to disappear somewhat.

  • wxman

    “STUDY FINDS FEW HEALTH EFFECTS FROM NEW TECHNOLOGY DIESEL ENGINES”

    http://pubs.healtheffects.org/getfile.php?u=708

  • Anonymous

    Of late, more Heavy Crude is available which is carbon rich and it should be easier to produce Diesel than Gasoline. So expect Diesel usage to increase.

  • Van

    I remember when cigarettes where bad, but filtered cigarettes “reduced” the health hazard. Now we know the health hazards of diesel exhaust, but are told the new filters engines have reduced the health hazard. But no AMA sourced studies are referenced.

    In the absence of settled science on the matter, lets keep plugging in and driving plug-in hybrids, whether diesel or gas until something better is developed. A vehicle without the ability to drive electrically for short commutes is a dinosaur running on dino juice.

  • Gary Reysa

    Whenever you guys talk about diesels, I think you should include carbon emissions as well as mpg.

    The diesel fuel contains about 10% more BTU per gallon which is a plus for mpg but a negative for carbon emissions.

    eg
    Toyota Prius 50 mpg, 178 gm/mi CO2
    VW Golf diesel 34 mpg, 299 gm/mi CO2

    So the Prius get 1.5 times the mpg, but the Golf has 1.7 times the CO2 emissions.
    Interior room is identical.

    Gary

  • sean t

    Spot on, Van.

  • JD

    Gary,

    That is right on! Diesel’s will never make to the EPA’s Elite Green List.

    http://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/Index.do;jsessionid=KyD2PgNGJy9nSHMzZd2XDZhhq5y1f5yxxNFLgddynS1fHCJn2057!788633877

    Diesels will never achieve a PZEV rating either. The soot is now colorless, the Carcinogenic particles (NOX) smaller, and the sulpher content reduced to 15 PPM, but still no PZEV rating. On top of that, I’ve been behind most of these clean diesels by MB, VW, Audi, and I can tell you I have to recirculate the air in my Prius. The term stinky diesels come to mind and all those pictures in those 3rd world countries of diesel soot in your food, hair, and clothes are now replaced with colorless soot? Diesels are not green!

  • JD

    Gary,

    That is right on! Diesel’s will never make to the EPA’s Elite Green List.

    http://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/Index.do;jsessionid=KyD2PgNGJy9nSHMzZd2XDZhhq5y1f5yxxNFLgddynS1fHCJn2057!788633877

    Diesels will never achieve a PZEV rating either. The soot is now colorless, the Carcinogenic particles (NOX) smaller, and the sulpher content reduced to 15 PPM, but still no PZEV rating. On top of that, I’ve been behind most of these clean diesels by MB, VW, Audi, and I can tell you I have to recirculate the air in my Prius. The term stinky diesels come to mind and all those pictures in those 3rd world countries of diesel soot in your food, hair, and clothes are now replaced with colorless soot? Diesels are not green!

  • isaac

    JD and Gary Reysa, both of you are dead wrong on your assessment of diesel engines. Gary, Golf or Jetta TDI easily outperforms your best prius. The real world mpg of these cars are in the neighborhood of 45-55 mpg gallon, so you’re wrong with your whatever CO2 emission calculation.
    I drive a 2010 Jetta TDI and after 38,000 miles of absolute fun driving, the inside of the exhaust tip is still extremely clean. So I do not comprehend where you smell diesel fumes coming from new TDI’s??? Be realistic and educate yourself more before posting untrue prejudgmental info about diesels. Indeed the diesel passenger cars are the best hope out there for the educated, informed smart American drivers.

  • Isaac

    JD and Gary Reysa, both of you are dead wrong on your assessment of diesel engines. Gary, Golf or Jetta TDI easily outperforms your best prius. The real world mpg of these cars are in the neighborhood of 45-55 mpg gallon, so you’re wrong with your whatever CO2 emission calculation.
    I drive a 2010 Jetta TDI and after 38,000 miles of fun driving, the inside of the exhaust tip is still extremely clean. So I do not comprehend where you smell diesel fumes coming from new TDI’s??? Be realistic and educate yourself more before posting untrue prejudgmental info about diesels. Indeed the diesel passenger cars are the best hope out there for the educated, informed smart American drivers.

  • isaac

    JD and Gary Reysa, both of you are dead wrong on your assessment of diesel engines. Gary, Golf or Jetta TDI easily outperforms your best prius. The real world mpg of these cars are in the neighborhood of 45-55 mpg gallon, so you’re wrong with your whatever CO2 emission calculation.
    I drive a 2010 Jetta TDI and after 38,000 miles of fun driving, the inside of the exhaust tip is still extremely clean. So I do not comprehend where you smell diesel fumes coming from new TDI’s??? Be realistic and educate yourself more before posting untrue prejudgmental info about diesels. Indeed the diesel passenger cars are the best hope out there for the educated, informed smart American drivers.

  • JD

    Issac,

    Sorry, I didn’t buy a Prius for performance, but for MPG and to send a message to the Middle East and the Oil Companies, you don’t dictate my life. Funny thing, Diesels do get better mileage than a conventional gas enginein some cases, but the gassers can at least achieve PZEV. New technologies like Sky-Active and 3Cylinder Turbos, will give the Diesels a run for their money especially with Gas much cheaper than Diesel Fuel. As for comparing the Diesel to a Hybrid, now thats funny! A hybrid/Gas will blow any diesel for MPGs and Emissions. You’ll never see a Stinky Diesel on the EPA’s Smart Elite list,no matter clean the they advertise it. The future is HEV/PHEV/EV! See the common denominator there and it isn’t ICE. Personally, I can smell those clean Diesels as soon as I get behind one, because they are no different than getting behind an old smogger ICE. Diesels for me stink like a 2 pack a day smoker.

  • NC skibum

    Yes, a hybrid will out perform a clean diesel in the city, but not on the highway. Electric cars have a very limited range due to the battery not being able to recharge while driving. Where is the power being generated for those cars? At your local coal fired power plant! How clean are those emmissions?

    If you do a little more digging before bashing diesels, you’ll find that the new clean diesels are less polluting than the new high mileage engines. The particulates from a clean diesel engine are less and larger than from the gas engines. The smaller particles will settle into the smallest areas of the lungs and create more health problems. Diesel fuel is now a maximum of 15 ppm sulphur. Gasoline is still over 300 ppm. That rotten egg smelll is not from my diesel but from your gas burning prius.

  • NC skibum

    In NC and SC, diesel has kept a fairly constant 30 cent margin over regular unleaded gasoline (rug), but you really have to look at the percentage difference. I noticed rug at $3.56 yesterday and diesel at $3.85. That’s a difference of 29 cents or 8%. In my clean diesel, I get an average of 30% higher miles per gallon than the equivalent gas model. 33 miles per gallon versus 44 miles per gallon on highway. So for a 14 gallon tank, the gasser will give you 462 miles at a cost of $49.84 or 10.8 cents per mile. The diesel will give you 616 miles at a cost of $53.90 or 8.8 cents per mile. Over 100,000 miles, the diesel will save just over $2000 (assuming fuel costs remain constant) and about 760 gallons of fuel. Extrapolate those numbers to a point where 10% of the 6,000,000 new cars were sold as diesels. That would equate to a fuel savings of over 450 million gallons at 100,000 miles for each car.

    As for electric vehicles, where does the power come from? Can I jump in my electric car and go visit my daughter that lives 150 miles away? Where will I recharge every 50 miles of the trip when most of the trip is through very small towns?

  • wxman

    The Health Effects Institute study I referenced earlier is just as legitimate as any AMA-sourced studies. It’s been doing environmental health studies for decades (http://www.healtheffects.org/about.htm).

    The study was partially funded by the U.S. EPA, so there would be no reason to falsify the results.

  • JD

    NC skibum,

    < "Yes, a hybrid will out perform a clean diesel in the city, but not on the highway."> Are you kidding? The only propulsion you have is an ICE(Gas/Diesel). I have EV/ICE-EV/ICE, which means the Prius ICE is only on for a percentage with the EV for the propulsion on the HWY. Translated I use less gas than any ICE alone vehicle, especially a Diesel. I get numbers on the City&HWY that exceed the EPA CITY/HWY MPG listings.

    Why are you bragging about the HWY MPG, when in reality it is the City and combined MPG is what the wise consumers look at. Pushing a Car’s Hwy MPG is deceptive form of advertising. Diesel’s are not Green vehicles. Trumpeting CO2 emissions, but sweeping NOX emissions under the carpet again is very deceptive. Diesel Emissions by products are similar to cigarette smoke, I treat these vehicles like I would any chain smoker, I stay away.

    You drive any car you please,but don’t advertise the Clean Diesel as being Green

  • collin

    the thing is that the diesel you are comparing to is not a hybrid version diesel. The reason it is important when considering engine emissions to compare a hybrid diesel vehicle to a hybrid gasoline vehicle is that when a hybrid vehicle emission is measured the engines shut on and off. So it is not a good emissions comparison to compare emissions from an engine that runs half the time to an engine that runs all the time. :)

  • Gary Reysa

    Hi Isaac,
    I did not make any assessment of the Golf — I just asked that when the people who write the articles here write about a diesel (or for that matter a gasoline car) that they include BOTH mpg and CO2 number. I want to look at both of these before making any decision on a car. This is particularly important with diesels because the fuel has more energy content and also more CO2 per gallon. This is a site that emphasizes green cars, so it seems not to much to ask that CO2 numbers always be provided?

    If you look on http://www.fueleconomy.gov they report both the EPA city/highway mpg AND the mpg achieved by actual owners who send in their gas mileage records. The mpg reported by both Golf owners and Prius owners is slightly (but not much) over the EPA numbers. So, the idea that diesels get much better mpg than the EPA numbers is not supported by their data.

    Gary

  • JD

    The posts center around a diesel vs hybrid-gas. Please read the posts before responding.

  • Dom

    I’m just hoping somebody will finally bring a mid-sized pickup with a diesel and a manual transmission… something along the lines of the Toyota Hillux or VW Amarok that the rest of the world gets to enjoy but not the USA… I can buy one in Mexico but not here!! That’s my dream vehicle…

  • JD

    NC Skibum,

    Below is a comparison done on CARB (Calif Air Resources Board), showing the Global Warming Score (CO2) and the Smog Score (NOX) as well as CARB’s smog rating for the Prius, VW Passat V4 Diesel and the MB E350 V6 Bluetec Diesel.

    Pretty Grim for the Diesels when it comes to the smog score Prius 450g, VW Passat 1875g, and the MB E350 V6 Bluetec, 1875g.

    For Greenhouse Gas Emissions(CO2) again the Prius wins with a score of 4298 lbs vs VW@ 7935 ibs vs MB @ 10,589 lbs.

    Now exactly where is the green in a Diesel vs a Hybrid???

    Please read the following:

    http://www.driveclean.ca.gov/comparison.php?vehicle_checkbox=compare_10501&vehicle_checkbox=compare_10535&vehicle_checkbox=compare_9936&x=26&y=5

  • wxman

    @JD – the problem with the CARB “Smog Score” is that it tells only part of the story (exhaust emissions only). That’s fine if you’re comparing cars using the same fuel, but in this case, you’re not.

    Diesel has far fewer “upstream” emissions than gasoline based on EPA emission factors. This is especially true of evaporative emissions (VOC). VOCs actually have much greater “smog-forming” potential than NOx (contrary to what you imply).

    If you factor in the upstream emissions based on EPA emission factors, the 2012 Passat actually has LOWER HC+NOx (“smog-forming”) emissions than the 2012 Prius (based on the fueleconomy.gov mileage since upstream emissions are a function of fuel consumption), even if you assume HC and NOx have the same “smog-forming” potential.

    Also, the Prius isn’t the only hybrid available. If you do an apples-to-apples comparison of diesel technology and hybrid technology offered in the SAME vehicle platform (e.g., the MB S-class), the diesel version (S350 BlueTec) has LOWER CO2 emissions and uses less petroleum than the hybrid version (S400h) according to fueleconomy.gov.

    And if you do a well-to-wheels comparison of conventional emissions, the S350 BlueTec has about half the “smog-forming” emissions that the S400h has (PZEV version), as well as all other criteria pollutants except PM (the same), and that’s only if you assume the S400h has ZERO PM emissions (probably not true, but the CARB cert sheets don’t report PM emissions of gassers generally).

  • Ron F

    Naysayers of diesel cars ability to have lower emissions (CO2 etc.) are comparing apples and oranges. Europe has been doing this comparison (same model with gasoline vs diesel) for years.

    Take a look at the specs for the Mercedes Smart in the gasoline vs diesel and you will see that this has been, hands down, the example of the lowest consumption AND emissions.

    Even if looking at sticker consumption ratings from the euro dealers, the diesels come out on top (although the table viewed in EU publications like Altroconsumo, equivalent to “Consumer Reports”, perform “real world tests” for these comparisons).

    Further, throw in biodiesel at 50 to 100% with this argument (not ethanol mixed with gasoline) and you have a closed carbon cycle that can not be matched by a gasoline powered hybrid. The higher energy input in 1L of bio-ethanol coupled with the reduced intrinsic energy produced when compared to diesel or biodiesel make it no contest. Yes, diesel has more BTUs than gasoline and much, much more than ethanol. That is precisely why you need less of it and why a diesel engine running at 3-4 times the cylinder pressure (2X the compression ratio) take advantage of this. The high pressure takes advantage of this by increasing the carmot cycle (energy output) respect to the gasoline counter part (a gasoline engine would self destruct under these conditions).

    Now for the $20,000 question. Why don’t we see more of the diesel engines married to a hybrid platform to give us a truly unbeatable car that has a torque biased diesel engine perfectly suited for a generator driving the hybrid?

    The answer is all the tree huggers in the world think the $5 – 15K premium for a hybrid is OK to justify the greener purchase and feel good about driving a reduced carbon foot print vehicle. Now, tack on another $3-$5k more for the diesel since it is engineered to handle the improved energy output (high pressure demand) and you have exceed the “feel good” cost/ benefit ratio ($15k hybrid premium price + $5k diesel engine platform = $20k “the answer” to the former question). Further, that little diesel power plant turning over the hybrid generator (coupled with brake energy recovery) will outlive the latest lithium battery tech by at least 5:1. In the end, you will have a diesel car (engine that works great at 300-500k miles) but a toasted battery pack or burned out generator plant. What would happen is that these folks would think twice about investing in the generator/battery part of the platform and simplify the vehicle with tried and true diesel alone (saving $5-$15K overall).

    I am a hug fan of a diesel hybrid. It is the way to go for a perfect match in HP vs torque needed to drive a hybrid generator (a 1L to 1.2L diesel engine would be great in a car the size of a Prius). However, the cost would turn many away and when you have a spent battery bank and/or burned generator, the public would really not understand why the “hybrid” part is so poor (it isn’t poor, but it is just the nature of the beast with the current tech).

  • JD

    Waxman and Ron F,

    In the US, it will be hard sell to convince people that the Black Soot(Now colorless) that emit from the Semis and Busses is healthy? There are a lot of people out there with allergies, myself included, are sensitive to diesel emissions. As you well know in third world countries where Dirty Diesels(Stinky Diesels) established their reputation as the one of the causes of Upper Respiratory Illnesses, this fact you cannot hide.

    The first place to convince people that defacto standards, of which PZEV is one, is faulty and futile. Trying to convince people that this study and that study or questioning the EPA and CARB results, are a joke. FACT:In order for a Clean Diesel to achieve a PZEV status(CARB), it will require $15k/vehicle in additional air scrubbers. This was a quote from the Big 3 automakers in 2010, to try and meet the new emissions standards. MB is in the news that the liquid Scrubber they use in their vaunted Blue-Tec process, has to be changed periodically at about $400/pop. Ouch! Again when are these clean Diesels going to achieve PZEV?

    So you can chose to drive a Diesel, but I certainly won’t and I will refuse to be behind one of these Clean Diesels period.

  • wxman

    The standards are faulty because they don’t account for upstream emissions of the fuel the vehicles use. EVs are ZEV (even better that PZEV) as far as the de facto standards are concerned, but no one believes they really produce zero emissions unless the electricity is produced solely from renewables. These emission categories are bogus if all of the emissions are just shifted upstream from the vehicles themselves.

    I’ve already linked a study which shows that new-technology diesel causes no health effects in laboratory animals even after many months of exposure to much more concentrated exhaust than would be encountered in even occupational settings. A distinction needs to be made between old-technology diesels (“stinky diesels”) and new-technology diesels which have absolutely no diesel smell whatsoever.

    I don’t disagree that the new diesel technology doesn’t have its disadvantages in the U.S. (e.g., expensive aftertreatment equipment, more expensive fuel), but the emissions issue is no longer one of them.

    By the way, I can get urea solution for the NOx reduction system (SCR) for $2.599/gallon and the urea tank on my car is a little over 6 gallons and last for at least 10,000 miles. The $400/tank of urea is typical dealer overcharging.

  • JD

    Wxman,

    < "EVs are ZEV (even better that PZEV) as far as the de facto standards are concerned, but no one believes they really produce zero emissions unless the electricity is produced solely from renewables. ">

    No Duh and in my particular case, the electricity is produced from renewables (Solar)! You can say what ever you want to say, but my sense of smell tells me there is danger in them Clean Diesels emissions. Thats why they will never be considered green by the EPA or CARB.

    < "I've already linked a study which shows that new-technology diesel causes no health effects in laboratory animals even after many months of exposure to much more concentrated exhaust than would be encountered in even occupational settings. A distinction needs to be made between old-technology diesels ("stinky diesels") and new-technology diesels which have absolutely no diesel smell whatsoever.">

    You remind of those MDs paid off by the Tobacco Industry, that there is no link between Smoking and Lung Cancer. The most recent example is the one that paid off RF Engineers by the Cell Phone Manufacturers, that there is no link between Cell Phone Usage and Brain Cancer. The WHO(World Health Organization) came out with a report to debunk that.

    Hang in there, when the Battery Technology matures, ZEV will be the norm and Diesels will be just a footnote in our polluted History.

  • wxman

    < "No Duh and in my particular case, the electricity is produced from renewables (Solar)!">

    Good for you! But in most cases, the electricity to charge EVs comes from the grid.

    < "You can say what ever you want to say, but my sense of smell tells me there is danger in them Clean Diesels emissions.">

    There are many things that smell unpleasant but are totally harmless. The new-technology diesel has no exhaust smell anyway.

    < "Thats why they will never be considered green by the EPA or CARB.">

    The 2012 MB E350 BlueTec effectively meets PZEV, even if you do think that is some “magical” emission category (http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/onroad/cert/pcldtmdv/2012/daimler_pc_a0030427_3d0_u2_diesel.pdf). It even hits the PZEV limit for NOx (0.02 g/mile); it’s only slightly high on NMHC (0.015 g/mi, the PZEV limit is 0.010 g/mi) which keeps it from achieving official PZEV classification. But, PZEV also allows up to 0.05 g/mi running loss (evaporative VOC emissions). Since diesel fuel is essentially non-volatile, the E350 BT easily meets the 0.06 g/mi (0.010 g/mi + 0.05 g/mi) HC emissions allowed under the PZEV emission category. And it doesn’t have the high upstream VOC emissions (you can verify the EPA emission factors at http://www.epa.gov/otaq/climate/documents/420d11901.pdf Table 4-12, page 4-42, if you don’t believe me.)

    < "You remind of those MDs paid off by the Tobacco Industry, that there is no link between Smoking and Lung Cancer. The most recent example is the one that paid off RF Engineers by the Cell Phone Manufacturers, that there is no link between Cell Phone Usage and Brain Cancer. The WHO(World Health Organization) came out with a report to debunk that.">

    You’re equating a study funded by EPA with a study funded by the tobacco companies?

    The Health Effects Institute has been around for decades (http://www.healtheffects.org/about.htm). What incentive would it have to falsify results to protect diesel engine technology and possibly discredit the entire organization?

    As far as that goes, how do you know the RF produced by electric motors doesn’t cause cancer or other adverse health effects?

  • JD

    Wxman,

    < "There are many things that smell unpleasant but are totally harmless. The new-technology diesel has no exhaust smell anyway.">

    Since I don’t smoke or drink (Not desensitized), but have Allergies, I can smell this clean diesel emission. If I can than I am sure others can smell it as well despite all the studies otherwise.

    < "The 2012 MB E350 BlueTec effectively meets PZEV, even if you do think that is some "magical" emission category (http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/onroad/cert/pcldtmdv/2012/daimler_pc_a00304...).">

    It is a magical emission category for a Diesel because it would give Clean Diesel Technology the creditability it doesn’t have to be legitimately called GREEN. Apparently the EPA as well as CARB, still has some issues with Clean Diesel Technology that it refuses to give it the PZEV rating.

    < "The Health Effects Institute has been around for decades (http://www.healtheffects.org/about.htm). What incentive would it have to falsify results to protect diesel engine technology and possibly discredit the entire organization?">

    They don’t have to falsify it, but downplay the risks (Weasel Word It).

    < "As far as that goes, how do you know the RF produced by electric motors doesn't cause cancer or other adverse health effects?">

    Electric Motors like generators produce negligible Non-Ionizing radiation (RF) to warrant it a risk to ones health. If you are so concerned about RF radiation, learn to use the cell/smart phone wisely and get rid of the Bluetooth devices attached to your head.

  • wxman

    @ JD,

    I don’t smoke or drink either, and I have allergies. I also own a new-technology diesel vehicle, and I can assure you that there is absolutely no smell whatsoever, even when starting the vehicle in an enclosed space like a garage. If you smell diesel fumes from a diesel car, it’s either not a new-technology diesel car or it’s had its dpf removed (something I don’t condone!).

    If you insist that a car can only be “green” if it meets PZEV, why wouldn’t you also insist that refineries meet the same emission levels for gasoline that diesel fuel emits in order for anything that runs on gasoline to be considered “green”? If you check the EPA emission factors I linked, gasoline produces over 42 grams of VOC per mmBTU just in the distribution and storage of the gasoline. Diesel fuel only emits a little over 1 gram of per mmBTU in that phase. There are also much higher levels of benzene (a known carcinogen) in those VOCs that gasoline emits.

    HEI isn’t downplaying anything. It fully supports its conclusions in the full report…no health effects from new-technology diesel in concentrated diesel exhaust except for a slight decrease in lung function due to the high NOx levels from the concentrated exhaust. Pretty straightforward.

  • JD

    Wxman,

    < "If you insist that a car can only be "green" if it meets PZEV, why wouldn't you also insist that refineries meet the same emission levels for gasoline that diesel fuel emits in order for anything that runs on gasoline to be considered "green"? If you check the EPA emission factors I linked, gasoline produces over 42 grams of VOC per mmBTU just in the distribution and storage of the gasoline. Diesel fuel only emits a little over 1 gram of per mmBTU in that phase. There are also much higher levels of benzene (a known carcinogen) in those VOCs that gasoline emits.">

    We do in So Cal and it is call the Air-Quality-Management-District (AQMD). They go around sniffing and testing the air, water, and tailpipes. If you get caught, you get spanked (Big Fines). We have roadside checkpoints where they put a sniffer up your cars tailpipe and every two years, you have to smog certify your car before you can renew the registration. Most Oil Company Refineries and properties are classified by the EPA as Superfund sites.

    < "HEI isn't downplaying anything. It fully supports its conclusions in the full report...no health effects from new-technology diesel in concentrated diesel exhaust except for a slight decrease in lung function due to the high NOx levels from the concentrated exhaust. Pretty straightforward.">

    A Slight decrease in Lung Function you say? Is that translated to coughing Soot or Hairballs? Downplaying playing the obvious? Yup!

  • JD

    Wxman,

    I’ve been behind many Diesels Cars and Trucks. The Car Clean Diesels to me still smell like a diesel, but the soot is just colorless. In this situation,I look to see what brand of vehicle is in front of me or to the side of me. VW’s, MB, Audi, and BMW are what I look for. In all cases I have to recirculate my air with AC. I do the same for the old vintage muscle cars, but their smell is distinctive and just as bad.

    < "If you insist that a car can only be "green" if it meets PZEV, why wouldn't you also insist that refineries meet the same emission levels for gasoline that diesel fuel emits in order for anything that runs on gasoline to be considered "green">

    Here in So Cal, we have the Air-Quality-Management-District (AQMD), who constantly monitor by sniffing and testing the air and water. They also do random Roadside inspections and sniff your car’s tailpipe. Every two years, you have to smog check your car or you can’t renew your registration. Also its no secret any oil refinery property is classified by the EPA as a Superfund Site (Toxic).

    < "HEI isn't downplaying anything. It fully supports its conclusions in the full report...no health effects from new-technology diesel in concentrated diesel exhaust except for a slight decrease in lung function due to the high NOx levels from the concentrated exhaust. Pretty straightforward">

    Exactly what is ” a slight decrease in lung function due to the high NOx levels from the concentrated exhaust.”? Is this due to a Soot Ball or a Hairball? Better yet is it Asthma or Emphysema?

  • wxman

    @JD,

    According to the study protocol…

    “…Four chamber exposure levels were targeted for the animal bioassay: low, mid, and high DE dilutions, and clean air. In previous DE animal exposure studies, dilution levels were based on particle mass concentrations. However, this approach was no longer viable because of the low particle concentrations in the exhaust of the 2007-compliant diesel engine and control systems. The HEI ACES Oversight Committee therefore decided, after discussion with the investigators and the ACES stakeholders, to set dilutions based on predetermined NO2 concentrations. This decision was made because NO2 is the pollutant with the highest concentration in the exhaust of the 2007-compliant engines and because noncancer health effects have been observed with exposure to NO2 and with exposure to whole DE (particle and gaseous components) from older engines in previous animal inhalation studies. The NO2 concentrations selected and the rationale for their selection are as follows:

    1. The highest concentration of NO2 would be 4.2 ppm. This concentration was derived from a prior study of chronic NO2 exposures (Mauderly et al. 1989) in which animals were exposed to NO2 at 9.5 ppm for 7 hours per day for 6 months. This concentration would serve as the maximum tolerated dose. The equivalent concentration for a 16-hour exposure duration is 4.15 ppm. However, given that actual concentrations vary during the 16-hour cycle and may end up slightly below or above the target, the HEI ACES Oversight Committee recommended that concentrations should not go below 4.0 ppm. At this concentration, it was deemed possible to control the exposure chamber temperature to within the specified range.

    2. The lowest concentration would be 0.1 ppm, or as close as possible to that concentration, in order to provide a likely no-observed-adverse-effect level. This concentration approaches the U.S. EPA ambient NO2 air quality standard of 0.053 ppm….

    3. The intermediate concentration would be 0.8 ppm. Based on the highest and lowest concentrations, the HEI ACES Oversight Committee recommended targeting 0.8 ppm (but not exceeding it) and going no lower than 0.7 ppm….”

    The slight decrease in lung function was only observed at the “highest” concentration of NO2, and was expected. No observable effects were noted with the “intermediate” and “lowest” concentration. Note that at the “highest” concentration, the NO2 levels were nearly 100 times the maximum NAAQS, and even at the “lowest” and “intermediate” concentrations were far above the NAAQS for NO2. Even Los Angeles is in attainment with the NO2 NAAQS, so the concentration of diesel exhaust to which the general population is exposed is far lower than even the “lowest” exposure in this study.

  • wxman

    Another study confirms that even NOx emissions from 2010-compliant truck diesels are much lower than older tech diesels…

    “…Frey and Sandhu found that a truck in compliance with the older 1999 standards emitted 110 grams of NOx per gallon of fuel used, and 0.22 grams of PM per gallon of fuel used. A 2010 truck emitted 2 grams of NOx per gallon of fuel—a decrease of 98%. The PM emissions were 95% lower….”

    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/04/ncsu-20120417.html

  • gregsfc

    Okay; we have two saying the price of diesel fuel takes away all the price advantage gained by fuel economy. Lets do the math using my particular vehicle.

    I drive a 2006 VW Jetta TDI. I have averaged 46.8 mpg (from tank to tank) over the life of the car, which is currently 117,000 miles. My driving is mostly a state-hwy commute (28 miles) with one small town in between with four traffic lights. My commute is as follows: Speed limit is 65 for nine miles coming in to the town and then 40, then 35, then 40 through the town (with two turns), which is about 1 1/4 mile. The town is followed by a state-hwy (55 mph) for 14.5 miles; the last leg is 3 1/4 miles on curvy, hilly roads. I accelerate like normal but do take it easy once I get up to cruising speeds staying at or around the speed limit.

    In 2006, VW made a standard Jetta with a gas engine, called a 2.5 that was rated @ 22/30 (using the EPA’s prior testing method). Under the old method most compact cars with gas engines gave the average driver pretty close to the hwy estimate (diesels normally did and do much better than the estimates); but to give the gasser the benefit of the doubt, we’ll say I would get the hwy. mileage in the gas version of my car in the history of my driving.

    Over the last six and half years, diesel fuel has averaged $.35 more per gallon. Sometimes the premium is much more and a few times it’s been cheaper than gas, but thirty to forty cents is where it stays most of the time. The price does rise and fall more slowly than gasoline, because it is not as a competitive a product as gasoline; no American product is as competitive as gasoline. So when folks see diesel much higher at the pump on a particular day, they think it has a much higher premium, but that usually means that I need to wait a few more days, because prices are falling, and since my diesel can go 700 miles on a tank, I can usually wait for competition to drive down the price to its normal premium. During times of rising prices, the opposite happens, retail stores are slower to raise the price of diesel fuel, except at big truck stops.

    The following is the amount of fuel I’ve used over 117,000 miles:
    117,000/46.8=2500 gallons

    The following is the amount of fuel I would have used with the gas-powered Jetta:
    117,000/30-3900

    Now lets plug in the average prices for the two fuels:

    Jetta TDI (diesel) 2500X$3.20=$8,000

    Jetta 2.5 (gas) 3900X2.85=$11,115

    Over the last six and half years, I’ve saved $3,115 in fuel, and that’s using hwy. estimates for the gas Jetta and the actual, tank-to-tank numbers from my diesel using a 4% trip meter error that is only a possibility and something I do just so I know I not exaggerating to people about my real-world fuel economy.

    The diesel version cost me $1100 more than the exact car, with the same trim, with the standard gas engine brand new. The book value of a 2006 Jetta TDI (diesel) is now 30% higher than the Jetta 2.5 (gas) in the same condition.

    In contrast, my wife’s hybrid Saturn Aura averages 28.5 mpg and was rated at the time at 35 hwy. She too drives mostly hwy. at conservative speeds but can barely make the city rating. Her car book value is below the standard Aura V-6, and we’ve had the batteries replaced twice under warranty. 20K more miles, and it’s on us.

  • Lee Gardoski

    If any sizeable impact is to be made here in the U.S., with regard to reducing our dependence on foreign oil and our overall consumption of fossil-fuels, automakers which serve the U.S. market need to get on board with offering more Diesel vehicles stateside. For example Ford’s Mondeo or VW’s BlueMotion Passat. Our federal government also needs to take steps to level the field with regard to fuel taxation. Leveling this tax would help to reduce fluctuations in Diesel fuel prices and bring the prices of the two fuels on an even par. Until about 2002 diesel fuel was always the cheapest fuel at the pumps. If one-third of the vehicles in the U.S. were diesel-powered, we would save up to 1.4 million barrels of oil per day. This is equivalent to the amount of oil we import from Saudi Arabia.
    The less fuel we consume, the less strain and demand we put on the finite supply of fossil-based fuels. Our government needs to stop subsidizing fruitless efforts such as ethanol and giving $8,000 incentives to convince people to buy cars like the Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf. EV’s, HEV’s and PHEV’s are not the answers to our dilemma of how to gain energy independence. Batteries are not free from the laws of physics and economics, just as our internal combustion powered vehicles are not. Batteries, and all the other components that go into these vehicles, are made from non-renewable resources and require energy to be expended from their manufacture to their recharging of electricity.
    There are no renewable sources for batteries or truly effective efficient ways to replace gasoline at the moment, but there are ways to provide sustainable renewable clean fuels for Diesels which are just as, if not more efficient than gasoline electric hybrids and EV’s which are being thrust upon the American consumer while the majority of the globe has cost effective truly efficient Diesels available for their consumption.
    Why are we wasting so many tax dollars, digging up the earth for another finite resource procured from a foreign country that is potentially hazardous to us? The technology is already available to us to take the already spectacular attributes diesel power has to offer and make it even better with things such as 100% renewable fuel that does not require mining or huge investments in infrastructure paid for by the U.S. tax payer. Hydraulic hybrids and flywheel hybrids, coupled with diesel engines fueled by one of the many sources that can power them, offer a true road to energy independence. The technology has been here and is being further developed but unfortunately we are going down a path that may lead to the same position we are currently in.
    As for how clean a new high tech Diesel is, well here is an example of just how clean. Would you believe cleaner than a Nissan Leaf? Well read on. During the last few years there has been resurgence in the interest of EV’s with their promise of cutting emissions and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Although scarce, fully electric vehicles, (EV’s) are starting to make their way into the market place and Nissan is leading the way with the Leaf touting zero emissions and 100 mile range. The EPA has rated the leaf at 73 miles of range. The Leaf is powered by 100% electric which is stored in a 24 kWh battery that can be charged from a conventional 110 volt wall outlet or a quick charger. Autoweek Magazine April 18,2011 issue pg23-24 By: Mark Vaughn
    In the U.S., if we don’t produce our electricity from coal, our energy output is 1.34 lbs/CO2 per kilowatt-hour. This is our average CO2 emissions, since our electricity comes from a mix of sources, almost all, however, being from fossil fuels. http://www.national.com/en/powerwise/co2_calculator.html
    Output from a standard wall outlet is 120 volts at 12 amps, giving 1440 watts or 1.44 kWh. An estimated charge time can be calculated by dividing the kWh of the battery pack by the kW available for charging or 1.44 kWh. For example we’ll take the Nissan Leaf with a 24 kWh battery pack, if you were to charge it from a standard wall outlet this would take approximately 17 hours. So you have 1.44 kWh x 17 = 24.48 kWh, now to get the amount of carbon released from the charging of this battery multiply 24.48 kWh x 1.34 lb/CO2 = 32.8 lbs/CO2. http://www.evsroll.com/Electric_Car_Charging.html The Leaf is reported to travel 73 miles on a charge so that comes out to roughly .44 lbs CO2/mile, which is more than Ford Fiesta Econetic diesel that emits .34 lbs CO2/mile. Remember, only 8% of our electricity is from renewable resources (see Figure 18).

    Figure 18
    If the electricity source is derived from a coal fired power plant the following can be taken into consideration. For Every kWh of electricity used 2.3 lb CO2 are emitted. http://cdiac.ornl.gov/pns/faq.html Output from a standard wall outlet is 120 volts at 12 amps giving 1440 watts or 1.44 kW. An estimated charge time can be calculated by dividing the kWh of the battery pack by the kW available for charging or 1.44 kW. For example we’ll take the Nissan Leaf with a 24 kWh battery pack. If you were to charge it from a standard wall outlet, charging would take approximately 17 hours. So you have 1.44 kWh x 17 = 24.48 kWh, now to get the amount of carbon released from the charging of this battery multiply 24.48 kWh x 2.3 lb/CO2 = 56.30 lbs/CO2. http://www.evsroll.com/Electric_Car_Charging.html The Leaf is reported to travel 73 miles on a single charge so that comes out to roughly .77 lbs CO2/mile which is more than Ford Fiesta Econetic diesel that emits .345 lbs CO2/mile.
    Until fairly recently there hasn’t been a real viable option for replacing fossil fuels. There is a multitude of crops that can be used to create biodiesel more effectively than ethanol. According to the USDA every unit of energy that is expended producing biodiesel which includes planting, harvesting, transporting, and processing yields 4.56 units of useable energy. This energy balance of 3:2:1 is reportedly improving form year to year from increased efficiency of which biodiesel is produced. This sounds promising but there is the problem of viable food-producing cropland being used for the purpose of growing feed-stocks for fuel production. Though, a partial contributor to easing our reliance on foreign oil it’s still not the answer to meeting our energy needs. http://usda.gov/oce/reports/energy/ELCAofSoybeanBiodiesel91409.pdf
    Algae-based biodiesel however is proving to be a game changer in the world of biofuels. With traditional bio-fuels, there is the problem that they require viable cropland to be grown which puts them in competition with food crops. Currently corn-based ethanol, as stated earlier, only has a production of about 328 gallons per acre, algae-based biodiesel has the potential to produce 14,000 gallons per acre. (Neltner, 2008)
    Algae grows very quickly, has very high lipid (oil) content, and can be grown where the land is unsuitable for farming or even off waste products such as sewage from waste water treatment plants and even CO2 produced from power plants. (Neltner, 2008)
    Algae can also be grown from waste CO2 produced by power plants, which would normally be released into the air. Algae are used to remove the CO2 from the power plant emissions and facilitate algae growth to produce more energy in the form of biodiesel.
    Along with being used to treat power plant emissions, algae is being used to treat toxic waste such as that found in sewage treatment plants removing much of the toxins. All of these toxins that feed the algae actually spur growth and improve production of algae. (Neltner, 2008)
    Aside from the environmental benefits of using algae to help with the clean-up of existing pollutants, more importantly, in the context of fuel production, it does not compete with viable crop lands. All of our fuel needs could be met with 15 million acres of land dedicated to producing algae and the biodiesel produced from the algae can be used as an immediate replacement for petroleum-based diesel fuel, unlike E85 or 100% ethanol. (Neltner, 2008)
    Dr. Glen Kertz, CEO of Valcent Products is working towards using algae as an energy source for biofuels and to help with overall reduction of CO2 which is a supposed cause of global warming. Roughly 50% of algaes weight is oil, which can, in turn, be used to create diesel fuel. Dr. Kertz’s company has taken a different approach to growing algae; instead of using flat ponds they use a series of vertical plastic bags. This approach allows much more surface area to be exposed to the sun, thus increasing the amount of algae that grows and the speed at which it grows. http://articles.cnn.com/2008-04-01/tech/algae.oil_1_algae-research-fossil-fuels-nrel?_s=PM:TECH
    According to Kertz, his system can produce 100,000 gallons of algae oil per year per acre. This far exceeds the 14,000 gallons per acre mentioned previously for algae produced not using the Vertigro system. Dr. Kertz went on to explain the U.S.’s transportation needs could be met with a land area approximately 1/10 the size of the state of New Mexico. This equates to 7,763,082 acres or 12,130 square miles of which can be literally in the desert or other areas where the land is unsuitable for crop cultivation or settlement. http://articles.cnn.com/2008-04-01/tech/algae.oil_1_algae-research-fossil-fuels-nrel?_s=PM:TECH

    The next time you’re filling up at the pump, as yourself “What powers the vehicles and portions of the infrastructure that produce and deliver fuel to the fueling stations?” Diesel, that’s what. Rudolph Diesel’s invention, and the fuel that was a result of it, shaped our railways, military, power grid and methods of transportation from the land, sea and air. What would life be like without Diesel power?

  • RoyceNoyd

    I do believe all of the concepts you’ve introduced in your post. They’re really convincing and can certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are very quick for novices. Could you please prolong them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post. Full Report Some genuinely prime blog posts on this web site, saved to favorites.