The U.S., like many other countries across the globe, is pushing for additional legislation aimed at reducing emissions and increasing fuel economy. Some standards take effect in 2016 and stricter regulations may follow soon after. While automakers focus on solving the problem through advanced technologies, a recent study by Hart Energy Consulting suggests that diesel fuel will play a significant role as a future energy source for automobiles.

The Hart report notes that demand for diesel has outpaced gasoline in most developing countries, for good reason. Diesel offers environmental improvements over gasoline, but unlike some other advanced automotive technologies, diesel's supporting infrastructure is already in place. The study suggests that demand for diesel in the U.S. could rise nearly two percent per year for the next decade or more. The increased demand will be driven by upcoming fuel economy regulations and by buyers crying out for more efficient vehicles. The report also claims that new emissions standards, which require modifications to all diesel-fueled vehicles, will make new oil burners 98 percent cleaner than road-going models fitted with outdated 2000-era technology.

The Hart report sums up the advantages of diesel this way:
Because of diesel fuel's unique attributes - its energy density, low-sulfur content, widespread availability and compatibility with biofuels - it is easy to recognize diesel's emergence as a leading fuel of the future. With superior fuel economy of up to 35 percent above gasoline vehicles, diesel provides a strong option for meeting efficiency requirements while maintaining performance and power.
If you glance at our recent reviews of diesel-fueled vehicles, you'll see that oil burners have advanced to the point of which we often recommend them over many a hybrid. Hit the jump for more from Hart's energy report.

[Source: Hart Energy | Image: respres – C.C. License 2.0]


PRESS RELEASE

Hart Energy Report Outlines Diesel's Role In New Green Economy


Diesel Fuel Poised to Play Expanded Role Meeting New Environmental & Energy Efficiency Requirements of Green Economy, According to New Hart Energy Report

"Because of diesel fuel's unique attributes - its energy density, low-sulfur content, widespread availability and compatibility with biofuels - it is easy to recognize diesel's emergence as a leading fuel of the future." - Hart Energy Consulting

WASHINGTON, DC - October 13, 2010: With the United States moving to implement stronger environmental and fuel economy standards and expand the use of renewable fuels, clean diesel fuel is "poised to take on an even greater role in the U.S. transportation market," according to a newly-released Hart Energy Consulting report.

"Diesel: Fueling the Future of a Green Economy" was released today by the Diesel Technology Forum in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy's 2010-2011 Winter Fuels Outlook Conference at the National Press Club. (To access the complete report go the DTF website.)

"While there has been a lot of speculation about the role of unproven energy technologies in the emerging green economy, this new analysis clearly highlights that clean diesel will play a vital role in the green economy both today and in the future generations of energy and transportation," said Allen Schaeffer, the executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum.

Diesel Market Growth Has Been International
"The growth in the diesel market has occurred throughout all regions of the world. Though not all areas have experienced substantial diesel penetration into the passenger vehicle market, growth in diesel demand has outpaced gasoline and other refined products in nearly all developing countries, including China. Diesel fuel is the workhorse of economies throughout the world. As global economies have expanded, so has the demand for diesel-fueled commercial transportation and industrial activities," according to the Hart report (p.7)

Diesel in the Clean Energy Spectrum
While there is much speculation on the transformation to energy sources like electric and natural gas vehicles, the report highlights diesel's significant role as both a current and future energy source.

"A search for secure, reliable energy supplies has led policy makers and industry to explore the use of new transportation fuels such as electricity and renewable fuels. Because of diesel fuel's unique attributes €" its energy density, low-sulfur content, widespread availability and compatibility with biofuels, it is easy to recognize diesel's emergence as a leading fuel of the future," according to the Hart report (p.5).

"Diesel offers energy and environmental improvement without the need for development of an infrastructure to support the advanced technology. Diesel's unique capability to utilize a range of renewable fuels and blends enhances its desirability under emerging renewable fuel requirements." (p.27)

New Fuel Economy & Climate Policy Initiatives to Increase Demand for Diesel
The Hart report states that diesel fuels has been the largest growth petroleum product, representing 20 percent of refined product demand, increasing at an annual rate of 2.8 percent for the past five years. Hart says U.S. diesel demand is expected to increase 1.7 to 2.0 percent per year over the next decade, driven largely by the heavy duty transportation sector and by pending fuel economy and climate policy initiatives that will increase diesel use among automobiles (p.27).

Also, the diesel industry is in the midst of implementing advanced engine and emissions control technology that will lower emissions from on-road vehicles and no-road machines and equipment by more than 98 percent compared to 2000-era technology, according to the report. With superior fuel economy of up to 35 percent above gasoline vehicles, diesel provides a strong option for meeting efficiency requirements while maintaining performance and power (p.27).

Refineries Increase Diesel Production; Gas Stations Expand Diesel Availability
In addition, Hart reports that the refining industry has made adjustments and plans additional investment designed to meet increased global and U.S. demand for diesel fuel. For example, two of the largest expansion projects in the history of the U.S. refining industry will incorporate capacity for maximizing diesel yield (p.28).

The report also highlighted another indicator of increased current and future diesel sales - the percentage of gas stations offering diesel fuel has increased from 35.4 percent in 1997 to 52.1 percent in 2007 (p.25)

Diesel Auto Sales Expected to Significantly Increase

In addition, the Hart report predicts sales of clean diesel automobiles in the United States to increase from just 2 percent in 2009 to 8.5 percent in 2020. The report notes that other independent projections forecast domestic diesel car sales to increase to 9 percent by 2013 (Ricardo) to 10-15 percent by 2015 (J.D. Power) (p.12-13).

"Fuel economy will be the primary factor in the future role for diesel in the U.S. light and medium duty vehicle markets," the report states. "Depending on the vehicle size and load, diesel engines typically achieve 20% to 35% better mileage than gasoline vehicles of comparable size and performance." (p.12)

"The significant growth in diesel car sales forecast for the United States has already occurred in other regions of the world," said DTF's Allen Schaeffer. "The Hart report highlights that in the European market diesel car sales have increased from 32.1 percent in 2000 to an astounding 53.3 percent in 2007. The new emission and higher mileage standards mandated by the federal government will increase the importance of diesel autos for American drivers."

About Hart Energy Consulting

Hart Energy Consulting is a division of Hart Energy Publishing, LP, one of the world's largest energy industry publishers, with a diverse array of informational products for the worldwide energy industry. Headquartered in Houston, with offices in New York, London, Washington, Brussels, Bahrain, and Singapore, Hart Energy Publishing's market-leading publications include Oil and Gas Investor, E&P, FUEL and PipeLine & Gas Technology.

About the Diesel Technology Forum

The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit national organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology. Forum members are leaders in clean diesel technology and represent the three key elements of the modern clean-diesel system: advanced engines, vehicles and equipment, cleaner diesel fuel and emissions-control systems. For more information visit www.dieselforum.org.