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Diesel retrofit US sales figures for 2012 show continuing overall decline; DPF sales up

The Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association (MECA) released the results of its survey of the total number of diesel retrofit devices sold by MECA member companies in 2012. According to the results, the total number of verified (US EPA- and/or California ARB-verified) diesel retrofit devices (for both on-road and off-road diesel engines) sold in the US (including California) by MECA member companies in 2012 was 16,262, reflecting an overall decline in unit sales since 2009.

Of this total, 68% (11,000) were diesel particulate filters (DPFs) (includes both passively regenerated and actively regenerated filters) and 28% (4,501) were diesel oxidation catalysts (DOCs). This total also includes 506 closed-crankcase filters.

In California, 7,825 diesel retrofit devices were sold, of which 90% (7,034) were DPFs. Sector-wise, in the US (including California), 13,740 diesel retrofit devices were sold for on-road diesel engines and 2,522 for off-road diesel engines.

MECA member companies sold 29,180 diesel retrofit devices in 2009, 24,640 in 2010, and 20,177 in 2011. The decline in overall retrofit sales since 2009 can be attributed to the significant drop in the number of DOCs sold in the US (for both on-road and off-road diesel engines) (11,906 in 2009, 9,926 in 2010, 4,663 in 2011, and 4,501 in 2012), as well as the noticeable drop in sales of closed-crankcase filters (6,548 in 2009, 2,580 in 2010, 3,127 in 2011, and 506 in 2012), MECA said.

On the other hand, sales of DPFs in the US (for both on-road and off-road diesel engines) have increased since 2009 (outside of California, 3,329 in 2009, 4,428 in 2010, 4,777 in 2011, and 3,966 in 2012; in California, 4,962 in 2009, 5,745 in 2010, 6,729 in 2011, and 7,034 in 2012).

As observed last year upon release of the diesel retrofit sales figures for 2011, the decline in overall retrofit sales since 2009, especially for DOCs, is most likely due to the decrease in federal Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding for clean diesel projects over the same time period, as well as the recent trend of funding being spent more on projects that use engine repowers and/or vehicle replacements rather than retrofit devices, MECA said.

In California, despite ARB’s stepped up enforcement of its truck and bus regulation last August, sales of DPFs for in-use on-road heavy-duty diesel vehicles still continue at a slow pace (7,034 in 2012). Under the regulation, ARB projected that approximately 12,000 filters would be installed in 2012 and approximately 66,000 filters overall from 2011 through 2015. Also, ARB’s in-use off-road diesel vehicle regulation was expected to generate additional demand for DPFs, but amendments to the regulation in December 2010 continue to depress the retrofit market opportunity for off-road diesel engines in the state.

Looking to the future, EPA is in the process of exploring new ways to more effectively reduce emissions from the in-use diesel vehicle population, which could result in additional retrofit opportunities for manufacturers. EPA’s new five-year in-use clean diesel strategy (focused on reducing emissions at high particulate matter exposure areas such as ports) and EPA’s new DERA rebate program (future rebate programs may target retrofitting specific types of diesel vehicles) could potentially spur retrofit sales, as well as renewed interest by the agency in their SmartWay program (looking at not just improving the fuel-efficiency of truck fleets but getting criteria pollutant reductions as well) and in their encouragement of the use of supplemental environmental project (SEP) funds for retrofit projects.

Also, the reauthorization of funding for the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) under last year’s highway bill (the legislation places emphasis on using CMAQ funds for diesel retrofits) and the expanded use of clean construction requirements for construction projects (such as the US Green Building Council’s recent announcement of a clean construction credit that can be used towards LEED certification) could also generate more retrofit sales. And, in California, ARB has initiated a regulatory process (final rulemaking anticipated at the end of this year) to reduce PM emissions from in-use off-road agricultural equipment operating in the state.

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