Diesel Powertrains will Reduce CO2 Quicker than BEVs, Forum Claims

Switching diesel vehicles to low carbon biofuels will reduce transportation CO2 emissions far quicker that a switch to BEVs.

That’s the claim by US lobby group, the Diesel Technology Forum, which backs up the assertion quoting data gathered in California. In a statement released to media, it said in 2019, California’s use of biodiesel and renewable diesel fuels eliminated 6.6M tons of CO2 while the use of electric cars and trucks in the state resulted in just 2.7M tons of CO2 reduction, almost one third of the emissions reductions delivered by diesel engines using biodiesel fuels.

It added that renewable diesel fuel’s contribution even edged out the reductions delivered by ethanol.  Since the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program began in 2011, biodiesel and renewable diesel fuel have eliminated more than 25M tons of CO2, according to the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

Naturally, the fact that there are many more ICE powered vehicles working the highways right now than BEVs, the Forum still have a point to make that bio and synthetic fuels could very well reduce green-house gas emissions quicker than BEVs. This would be especially true in nations where the bulk of electric energy is being created by burning coal, gas and oil in aging power stations instead of by sustainable solar, wind or hydro generation.

In a statement Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Forum, said: “Across the board, today’s generation of advanced diesel technologies are more energy efficient and lower in emissions than previous generations, and remain the technology of choice in key sectors like commercial trucking, marine, agriculture, construction and freight rail applications.  Coupled with growing success using  biobased diesel fuels, diesel engines are contributing substantially already to low-carbon goods movement in America.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


  1. Avatar AL356 26th April 2021 @ 7:27 pm

    In 2019 what was the ratio of total energy consumed in the form of biodiesel versus battery power? I suspect that this comparison is based on the fact that electric vehicles have not penetrated as much usage as diesel cars, trucks, etc.

  2. Avatar Ron Holt 26th April 2021 @ 9:19 pm

    European governments seem to have decided that EVs are the future . No mention is ever made by the Green lobby about the environmental damage caused by mining the materials used in batteries or the pollution caused by burning fossil fuels to generate the electricity for charging batteries.

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