Diesel has been shown to be a significant contributor to the increased growth in emissions, with road transport and mining applications producing the weight of the CO2-e emissions, according to the March 2016 Carbon Emissions Index (CEDEX) Report.

The report revealed that black and brown coal generation continue to contribute to Australia’s rising emissions profile, while gas generation decreased slightly and renewable sources remained relatively unchanged. The use of black coal generation increased slightly, but has been offset by decreases in brown coal.

However, road transport – encompassing truck freight, light vehicles such as cars, and buses – use diesel as its primary fuel. In mining, the major use of diesel is for excavation and in-mine haulage equipment, while most of the rail systems transporting minerals from mine to port are also fuelled by diesel.

“The shift by new car purchasers to diesel engines in recent years has certainly played a part in emissions reduction, but the increased number of vehicles may have offset that advantage,” said Dr Hugh Saddler, Senior Principal-Energy Strategies.

“In terms of freight transport, the use of rail for moving some of the goods currently transported by road would significantly reduce the emissions created by trucks. On a per tonnage and kilometre measure, the amount of diesel emissions via rail would be significantly lower than for the same tonnage and distance using trucks,” Mr Saddler said.

Matt Hyatt, pitt&sherry Group Executive-Victoria, said data clearly demonstrates the trend towards diesel usage in light commercial vehicles and an increase in freight and commercial activity.

“It is important therefore, to look at reducing traffic congestion in the major cities. Consumers are already looking for more fuel efficient engines,” Mr Hyatt said.

“In addition, projects such as the heavy haul rail infrastructure at Moorebank Integrated Precinct in Sydney highlights that investment in rail infrastructure will reduce the congestion and wear on our road networks,” he added.