- A $10 billion dollar investment in diesel fuel production will require redirection after Europe turns on diesel as a popular choice for passenger vehicles, The Wall Street Journal reported last week.
- The change in perspective was powered in part by the ongoing Volkswagen emissions scandal. The Journal also reported Tuesday that the EU plans to require European car manufacturers to cut emissions by 25-35% from cars and 30-40% from vans by 2021.
- The scandal resulted in a drop in diesel vehicle sales, especially in Germany. Backlash was especially strong after news broke that diesel, which emits nitrogen oxide, is a more serious pollutant than previously believed.
Europe is generally more aggressive about sustainability than the U.S., and that's evident from these recent reports.
While interest in electric cars within the U.S. is considered lukewarm at best, European companies like BMW are planning to mass produce electric cars by 2020 and DHL is pursuing fully electric trucking fleets. Already Europeans are out-buying Americans, with Europeans purchasing 215,000 electric cars in 2016, while U.S. drivers bought just 150,000. After all, electric cars and fewer emissions have been popular in Europe for a while, with the FIA Formula E Championship — a class of electric auto racing — leading the charge.
According to an exclusive statement emailed to Supply Chain Dive from DHL regarding the diesel fuel downturn, the company is "keen to see further developments in alternative fuels as well as the development of the infrastructure needed for greater adoption of electric vehicle such as charging stations, etc., which would increase the deployment and acceptance of green transport – all which support our Mission 2050 ambitions."
DHL's Mission 2050 goal is for the company to reach zero net emissions. The email added that "right now 11.5% of our U.S. ground fleet is either powered by alternative fuels or is hybrid or electric. Also out of about 92,000 vehicles we have on the road today, we have already enhanced approximately 20,500 vehicles with over 25,600 technical modifications – with several different modifications often made to a single vehicle."
Though trucks and commercial vehicles will likely remain diesel-fueled for the time being, both the U.K. and France plan to ban all gasoline-fueled vehicles by 2040. For Europe, losing interest in diesel fuel and tightening emissions standards are just the next steps as the continent moves toward sustainability. Sustainability is not just a policy in Europe, but a new cultural and business mindset that is revolutionizing business practices.