The United States is facing serious challenges with the fuel it uses to power diesel and gasoline engine vehicles. The problems include fuel prices and air pollution. 70% of all freight is moved by trucks, responsible for 7% of the total U.S. oil consumption. According to the EPA, diesel fuel consumption of ground freight transportation will exceed 45 billion gallons in the next 12 months. The EPA and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics report that the total vehicle miles people travel in the United States increased 178% since 1970 and continues to increase at a rate of two to three percent each year. Today millions of diesel vehicles average over 120,000 miles per year at 6.2 miles per gallon. The lifespan of many diesel vehicles is nearly 30 years. Because of this longevity, we will be left with the legacy of pollution from dirty diesel vehicles for decades to come. Motor vehicles are responsible for nearly one half of smog-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs), more than half of the nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, and about half of the toxic air pollutant emissions.
These vehicles now account for 75% of carbon monoxide emissions. It is hazardous to health. Faced with this reality there is much work that needs to be done. The Clean Air Task Force states that an aggressive program to reduce diesel emissions could save about 100,000 lives by 2030. Health research indicates that the portion of the exhaust one can't see maybe the most dangerous of all. Asthma attacks, respiratory disease, heart attacks, and even premature death are among the most serious public health problems linked to emissions from the nation's fleet of diesel vehicles. The United States is home to the largest passenger vehicle market of any country. Historically, passenger vehicle miles traveled and real personal income have grown at about the same rate and at a much higher rate than the population. There are an estimated 247 million registered passenger vehicles in the United States, according to a DOT study. These vehicles average more than 12,000 miles per year at 22.4 miles per gallon. According to the EPA, gasoline fuel consumption will exceed 140 billion gallons in the next 12 months.