What About Diesel?

April 1, 2011
Group makes the case that Obama's energy plan should include diesel fuel.

The nonprofit Diesel Technology Forum responded to President Obama's energy speech earlier this week by declaring that diesel fuel "can and must be part of our current and future national energy strategy."

"President Obama touched on some energy sources -- some of which are in developmental stages or won't be functional for many years," said Allen Schaeffer, the group's executive director. "Fortunately, we have a source of power that is efficient and clean that exists today and will continue to get more efficient as its technology continues to advance."

During a speech at Georgetown University on March 30, Obama pledged that by 2025 the United States will cut oil imports by one-third through expanded use of alternative-energy sources such as natural gas, biofuels and solar and wind power, among other measures.

In a statement issued after Obama's speech, Schaeffer countered that diesel fuel must be included in the energy plan.

"No other internal combustion engine in the world is as energy-efficient as the diesel engine," Schaeffer argued. "Along with advancements in efficiency, and ability to use renewable fuels, diesel fuel is particularly well-positioned for the future."

Conservation Key to 'Real Results'

Schaeffer asserted that discussions of our national energy strategy tend to overstate the importance of investing in alternative fuels and energy technologies, "and this case is no exception."

"But everyone knows that it is conservation and the incremental improvements and innovation in the existing fuel-efficient technologies that are critical to delivering real results," Schaeffer said. "Clean diesel power is the quintessential of those existing technologies."

According to the Diesel Technology Forum, clean diesel cars are 20% to 40% more efficient than gasoline-powered cars.

"The diesel engine is also uniquely suited to take advantage of expanded use of renewable fuels," Schaeffer argued. "Diesel was really the first internal combustion engine powered by renewable fuel, and today, most diesel engines are suitable for use with soy-based biodiesel fuels as well as the highly-anticipated second-generation renewable diesel fuels made from a variety of feedstocks with advanced processing."

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