Posted by: philadelphiadieseldifference | April 5, 2010

New Report Issued on Diesel Trucks and Efficiency

National Academies Report Evaluates Fuel Efficiency Improvements for
Large Trucks (March 31, 2010) – Pursuant to provisions included in the 2007
Energy Independence and Security Act, the Committee on Assessment of Fuel
Economy Technologies for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles at the National
Academies has issued a new report evaluating measures that increase fuel
economy and reduce fuel consumption in medium- and heavy-duty trucks,
including tractor trailers, transit buses and other large trucks. The report notes
that at this time there are no fuel consumption standards for trucks, which
consume an estimated 26 percent of transportation fuel in the U.S. The
Committee looked at a combination of factors, including new technology,
aerodynamics, reduced rolling resistance, hybrid electric drives and drivers’
education, among others, to improve fuel efficiency and reduce fuel consumption
in seven vehicle types over the next decade. They found that “using advanced
diesel engines in tractor trailers could lower fuel consumption by 20 percent by
2020, and improved aerodynamics could yield an 11 percent reduction. Hybrid
powertrains could lower the fuel consumption of vehicles that stop frequently, such
as garbage trucks and transit buses, by as much as 35 percent” during the same
period. The report also estimates the costs and maximum fuel savings achievable
for each vehicle type by 2020, with the lowest cost-benefit ratio going to tractor
trailers that could reduce fuel use by 50 percent at a cost of about $84,600 per
truck, which would be cost effective over 10 years if gas prices were at least $1.10
per gallon. The report also notes that the miles-per-gallon metric is inappropriate
for large trucks; any fuel economy regulations should use load-specific fuel
consumption (LSFC), which measures the amount of fuel a vehicle uses to carry
one ton of goods one mile. Finally, the Committee suggested that one way to
avoid the complexity of regulating heavy-duty trucks all together would be to
impose a fuel tax that would induce fleet operators and truck owners to optimize
fuel efficiency. The Committee noted that another alternative approach to
regulation might be to impose a cap-and-trade program similar to the one being
considered by Congress to reduce greenhouse gases. [For further information:]



  1. All well and good…but will they start any better in the cold? Maybe they should legislate that.

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