Print 80 comment(s) - last by Jedi2155.. on Aug 11 at 11:44 PM

Big rigs need to cut fuel consumption up to 23%

Having high fuel efficiency in a vehicle is a great thing for the driver because they can spend less on fuel. Having higher fuel economy on vehicles across the automotive market will reduce the need to import foreign oil and will help to reduce overall pollution as well. The big downside is that the cost of the tech to improve fuel economy is not cheap and that cost will be passed onto the car buyer.

The Obama administration today outlined its Heavy-Duty National Program [PDF] fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles like semis, concrete trucks, dump trucks, and other heavy work trucks. Rather than targeting a specific mile per gallon rating  for the heavy-duty vehicles – like what has been proposed for passenger vehicles -- Obama is going to target a percentage of fuel savings.

The reason for this significant difference in fuel savings is according to the administration imposing a MPG standard on this sort of vehicle would be very confusing considering that the range of categories is wide and the payload and duties in the segment vary widely.

The administration wants a 9% saving in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions for work trucks (fire trucks, garbage trucks, and busses, etc.). Gasoline swilling heavy-duty trucks and vans will need to see a reduction of 10% with diesel versions needing to see a 15% savings. Big rigs have the most stringent cuts at up to 23%.

The regulatory announcement also makes the following claims with regards to recouping the added cost associated with adopting more fuel efficient technologies: 

Using technologies commercially available today, the majority of vehicles will see a payback period of less than one year, while others, especially those with lower annual miles, will experience payback periods of up to two years. For example, an operator of a semi truck can pay for the technology upgrades in under a year, and have net savings up to $73,000 over the truck’s useful life.

The new standards will apply to covered vehicles in the 2014 to 2018 range. The hope is to cut 530 million barrels of oil consumption and $50 billion in fuel costs over the life of the vehicles with the new standards in place.

The cost to meet the new standards on the varying vehicle types are expected to be in the range of hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars per vehicle.

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todays laugh
By kattanna on 8/9/2011 3:39:56 PM , Rating: 5
Big rigs have the most stringent cuts at up to 23%

i dont know of any trucker who wouldnt want to get a new rig that saved them 23% on their gas bill. so i dont see a need for a mandate on this.

RE: todays laugh
By room200 on 8/9/2011 3:44:37 PM , Rating: 1
You might say the same thing for energy efficient appliances, but how many people are still using washers and refrigerators that are 15 years old because "they just don't make them like they used to"?

RE: todays laugh
By DoeBoy on 8/9/2011 3:49:31 PM , Rating: 3
Water and electricity are not nearly as volatile in price as oil is. Oil is something that takes a lot more effort to retrieve than the resources used for power generation. I also think a truck driving tens of thousands of miles a year will return a real value at a much much much quicker pace than a washing machine.

RE: todays laugh
By Hiawa23 on 8/10/2011 10:31:34 AM , Rating: 3
I am skeptical about this. I think it would be great to make big rigs more fuel efficient, but is it realistic? I would rather the admin work on drilling for our own oil here in the States, cause our need for oil is not going to be reduced & with the craziness going on over seas we better find ways to produce more of our own oil, as the price seems to change at the drop of a hat when anyone blinks an eye over in those countries, & the majority of our vehicles are not going to run on electricity especially with the economy in the shape it's in & the middle class falling & struggling, electric vehicles to me will not be the viable option. How do you get gas prices down, that's what I am concerned with, or how do you make em run off of natural gas.

RE: todays laugh
By Natch on 8/10/2011 11:54:13 AM , Rating: 3
No, this is simply what you get when you've got someone without an engineering background, who surrounds themselves with "yes men", who tell him it's the greatest idea in the world to mandate higher fuel efficiency in all vehicles on the road.

Meanwhile, the engineers who design these vehicles are sitting there going, "Really? Gee, why didn't we think of that??", while rolling their eyes, and wondering how they're going to deliver fuel economy as well as performance.

RE: todays laugh
By drycrust3 on 8/10/2011 11:56:36 AM , Rating: 2
I am skeptical about this.

There is little point in demanding more fuel efficiency from vehicles without also demanding an increase in the strength of the road. One cause of inefficiency, especially for heavy vehicles, is the dragging effect of road as it bends under the weight of the vehicle. By building better roads you then reduce that drag and decrease fuel consumption.

RE: todays laugh
By Smartless on 8/9/2011 4:04:37 PM , Rating: 3
I'm a little skeptical on making a large rig more gas efficient. I've seen attempts at making them more aerodynamic but part of the problem is:
1) You can't make a large diesel anymore efficient without sacrificing. (If you're thinking hybrid, dude..really?)
2) Aerodynamically changing any large truck only makes sense for long-haul trucks. Much of the drag is dependent on the trailer which is not something the a trucker can control.
3) Starting a large engine is perhaps the only real change you can make. But really its only one part of an inefficient system. How much savings can you get?

I realize my views here are polarizing but hey I'm here to learn. I know there's biodiesel, there are a few fuel cell trucks out there but really what efficiency can we hope to get besides using smaller trucks like Japan or using trains?

RE: todays laugh
By Gungel on 8/9/2011 4:19:09 PM , Rating: 2
Changing aerodynamics can save 50% in fuel. Check out this video about the industrial designer Luigi Colani:

RE: todays laugh
By Souka on 8/9/2011 7:36:59 PM , Rating: 3
I like how the video the guy says "up to" a lot...seems more vaporware...

Also,potientally save %50 on fuel bill for over a 4x startup cost on the truck..
How much is a windshield on one of those? Oh yeah, you can't get one.

But... I'd really like to see these badboys on the road...that would be sweet! :)

RE: todays laugh
By Souka on 8/9/2011 7:40:40 PM , Rating: 2
sorry, I meant 14x startup cost (a new cab runs about $75k)

RE: todays laugh
By TheEinstein on 8/10/2011 9:34:15 AM , Rating: 1
Dear God the clown opened his mouth again! BAD OBAMA!

Consider slowly who can afford a $200,000 truck. Not small businesses, not drivers. Cost savings my ass.

Every step Obama, and the EPA, has done has made things harder on us. We have to combine an additive to our emissions now and this costs us money and reduces our efficiency.

We have a literal oven on our exhaust to cook loose fuel and carbon into 'something less'. This costs us money and reduces our efficiency.

If the silly Democrats, Liberals, and Environuts would get out of our way we would have already had 10 miles to the Gallon as an average.

Currently 100% of research is dedicated to trying, desperately, to find a way to meet the next level of environmental requirements (consensus is that we cannot create the technology and deploy it fast enough at the moment in the industry).

Fuel efficiency would have been nice, but under these nuts there is no chance except minor increases.

I currently get 6mpg in my truck I drive now. I used to drive trucks with a 7mpg average. I understand what even a 10% increase in ability would mean.

However this new additive stuff puts a huge damper on any desires I have of purchasing a 'new' truck. Kill that and tomorrow I will seek a loan for a truck without the additive stuff.

Oh and a final note KILL THE 2011 RULES THE DOT IS INSTALLING before it kills 300,000 jobs!

RE: todays laugh
By cjohnson2136 on 8/10/2011 10:40:42 AM , Rating: 2
Consider slowly who can afford a $200,000 truck. Not small businesses, not drivers. Cost savings my ass.

You do realize big rigs are expensive NOW. My neighbor is a retired truck driver. His rig cost him 150,000. This rigs are not cheap now. Why would you expect them to be cheap in 2018.

RE: todays laugh
By StanO360 on 8/9/2011 8:30:05 PM , Rating: 2
Yes it's cool, but the assumption is that most of the fuel is spent due poor aerodynamics. Why haven't cars seen 50% increases when they are made aerodynamic?

In other words I'm skeptical, is it worth pursuing? Of course, but there are a lot of variable besides aerodynamics.

RE: todays laugh
By Calin on 8/11/2011 2:48:39 AM , Rating: 2
I love how he only talks about the front end. I think the "tail end" is more damaging to aerodynamics than the front end, and that isn't under any kind of driver control

RE: todays laugh
By Jedi2155 on 8/11/2011 11:44:20 PM , Rating: 2
Why couldn't they just put a giant cone at the end for the long haul trucks and remove them at the their trip?

Similar to how the space shuttle has a cone during their 747 flights.

Just make sure its easy to put on and off, then you could talk about lots of fuel savings.

RE: todays laugh
By Etsp on 8/9/2011 4:21:36 PM , Rating: 5
Long Haul Hybrid tractor? Yes. That may very well work. Many(most?) trains are now "hybrids", in that they have a diesel generator that powers electric motors that power the wheels. Scaling the technology down may take a bit of work though. It will certainly be expensive.

Regenerative braking? I'm sure that will be extremely helpful, as long as they don't sacrifice the ability to brake normally as well.

You can easily have the aerodynamic properties of the tractor extend to trailer by the use of fold-able panels. Whether this is cost-effective is another factor entirely.

Another method is to use thermo-electric plates on the exhaust instead of having an alternator. (This has already been done, just not on a wide-scale)

There's also water-injection technology that significantly boosts fuel efficiency (I believe they are having problems with this causing excessive wear and tear on the engines at the moment, but I'm sure these problems are surmountable).

However, I believe the best method to reduce emissions would be to send non-express delivery long-haul shipments via train, and have the tractor-trailers only do the last 50 miles or so. Trains are always going to be more efficient than tractor-trailers.

RE: todays laugh
By Spuke on 8/9/2011 4:49:00 PM , Rating: 5
However, I believe the best method to reduce emissions would be to send non-express delivery long-haul shipments via train, and have the tractor-trailers only do the last 50 miles or so. Trains are always going to be more efficient than tractor-trailers.
Trains are more efficient but good luck trying to get new rails built in states like CA. The environmental impact studies and accompanying lawsuits push costs into the stratosphere.

RE: todays laugh
By Argon18 on 8/9/11, Rating: 0
RE: todays laugh
By Etsp on 8/9/2011 6:27:47 PM , Rating: 5 Yes, these trains are "hybrids".

Why are batteries necessary? Why not supercapacitors? Why attempt to run the vehicle without the Diesel generator running? Why discourage further discussion? I think you are being very close-minded about the possibilities here. Nothing I've said was intended to be a silver bullet, simply part of a larger plan for better efficiency.

The reason manufacturers aren't selling turbodiesels in the US? There isn't enough cost-benefit on our subsidized fuel prices to justify it. It's a $3000 cost difference, and it will save you $2500-$3500 over the life of the vehicle. You won't save much money by buying a turbodiesel. Fuel in Europe and England is much more expensive, and so there is a clear cost-benefit there.

RE: todays laugh
By StanO360 on 8/9/11, Rating: 0
RE: todays laugh
By Etsp on 8/10/2011 11:29:00 AM , Rating: 3
The beauty of our government. Oil is subsidized by the Federal government. Gas is taxed by the state and federal government. Does that make sense to you? Me neither, but that's how it works. Fact is that the U.S. has one of the lowest consumer fuel prices on average than any other country that doesn't export oil.

RE: todays laugh
By ekv on 8/10/2011 10:04:49 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, these trains are "hybrids".
According to your Wikipedia link they are "series hybrids". Hybrid only in the sense that they use an ICE (as prime mover) and electric motor (for traction).

Why are batteries necessary?
Consider the acceleration profile of a train vs. a truck. Then consider that trying to add batteries to a truck, in order to smooth engine efficiency vs. acceleration needs, would likely add weight to the point of negating desired efficiencies.

Even assuming "hybrid" batteries as espoused on

I don't think the poster you were replying to was attempting to stifle discussion, but rather was decrying increased regulation, unfunded mandates and government intrusion. Get the government out of subsidizing fuels. Let the market decide what to sell.

Diesel-electric locomotives have marvelous technology -- 6000HP yeeha! -- but their weight and cost are optimized for a particular operating regime. I believe it is only a matter of time before trucks and other heavies cross-develop the technology.

RE: todays laugh
By lagomorpha on 8/9/2011 6:09:39 PM , Rating: 2
"Many(most?) trains are now "hybrids", in that they have a diesel generator that powers electric motors that power the wheels."

This is something trains have been doing since at least 1920, but it's mostly because building a transmission capable of reliably handling that kind of torque is a pain (though it has been done). It's not done so much to increase fuel economy. For one thing you don't get regenerative braking, but diesel-electric trains do have something called "dynamic braking" in which the forward motion of the train is slowed by generators in the wheels which feed in to a massive resistor bank above the engine. In order to cool the resistor bank the engine is actually run at full speed and geared directly to some fans, not really the best way to save fuel but does save on brake friction material. The change from 2 strokes to 4 stroke diesel engines should improve fuel economy a bit because of the nature of 2 strokes (limited in how you can adjust valve/port timing).

"The bank of batteries required to provide 2000 ft/lbs of torque would weigh tens of thousands of pounds. "

EMD's H series makes 6300hp at 1000rpm which based on 1hp=1ftlb*rpm/5252 means it's making 33,087.6 ft/lbs of torque. I don't care to guess at the kinds of batteries needed.

RE: todays laugh
By rudy on 8/10/2011 9:16:45 PM , Rating: 2
Why has obama not thought of the obvious solution.

Ship less.

Yes that is right it is only that simple. Mandate that no copy right is valid in the US unless media is sold in a digital copy as well as hard copy. And the digital copy must costs less than the hard copy at retail. This would mean we do not need to ship books, CDs, DVDs, as much and reduce lots of travel. Not shipping something at all is a very easy and realistic solution. Telling people they need to increase efficiency is alot more complicated and many times it is just a lie. For instance people say that now days the EPA MPG rating keeps getting the testing method changed so they can move up the MPG even though the cars are really not getting that much more efficient.

RE: todays laugh
By Calin on 8/11/2011 3:01:29 AM , Rating: 2
Consider the weight of all the books, software, ... that you buy. Now consider the weight of the bottled water, juices, meat, bread, fruits, vegetables and so on (almost all of which are shipped on diesel fuel).
You'd maybe save 0.01% of the transportation costs.

RE: todays laugh
By Calin on 8/11/2011 2:56:47 AM , Rating: 2
Good luck trying to convince companies to send loads with one truck to the train station, trans-ship to train, and wait for the train to arrive to trans-ship to a truck again. It's much easier to put a truck on the road and have guaranteed delivery in a while (freight trains are slow and probably aren't going often enough).

As for hybrid tractors, semis aren't much going in "stop and go" traffic, so I doubt there's any significant savings to be had in their typical workload. As for saving braking energy, a loaded semi convert during braking much more energy than even a hybrid SUV, so you'd need much bigger generators and batteries. Hybrid is best in stop-and-go traffic, and bad in "long haul" scenarios

RE: todays laugh
By kattanna on 8/9/2011 4:13:35 PM , Rating: 3
a trucker can travel hundreds to thousands of miles a week. so if they could be paying 23% less in fuel, which is their single biggest expense, they would be.

problem is load. hauling 60,000 pounds requires a wee bit more power then a slick turbocharged 6 cylinder can provide, and burns fuel accordingly

i read something a while back about walmart moving to using hybrid semis, but they were only expecting 5-10% for long haul loads

RE: todays laugh
By Spuke on 8/9/2011 4:51:39 PM , Rating: 2
problem is load. hauling 60,000 pounds requires a wee bit more power then a slick turbocharged 6 cylinder can provide, and burns fuel accordingly
Er, most of the big rig diesel engines ARE turbocharged 6 cylinders. Ever heard of Cummins?

RE: todays laugh
By lagomorpha on 8/9/2011 5:39:38 PM , Rating: 2
Caterpillar has even made 4 cylinder diesels for semis and Commer made a 3 cylinder for commercial trucks, though it was an opposed piston design (3 cylinders, 6 pistons, 2 stroke).

RE: todays laugh
By Argon18 on 8/9/2011 6:00:50 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, it's true, the Cummins 4BT series. 3.9 liter and 4.4 liter FOUR cylinder turbo diesel engines are what powers all the Fedex and UPS box trucks.

RE: todays laugh
By Iaiken on 8/9/2011 4:51:59 PM , Rating: 2
The US military was able to achieve a gain of 20% fuel efficiency on it's HEMTT A3 testbed just by adopting a diesel electric power train.

I would say that it is certainly feasible since it could be combined with advanced aerodynamics to achieve upwards of 65% gains.

I've always wondered why trucks didn't follow trains in their quest to look more and more like bobsleds.

RE: todays laugh
By Jeffk464 on 8/9/2011 11:22:59 PM , Rating: 3
2,500 to 3,000 miles a week
max load on a typical semi is approx 45,000 lbs

RE: todays laugh
By The0ne on 8/9/2011 5:53:42 PM , Rating: 2
That is the one of the main reasons why working places with much older employees still have old devices around. I use to work for a company that made voting systems for city councils across the US. Trust me, we could NOT do anything more advance than a 2 button yes/no, wired, red/green, switch system. To be more advance means more training and anger with the older employees. They do have a point but man, it's hard work...not the voting system...the wiring!

RE: todays laugh
By StanO360 on 8/9/2011 8:24:25 PM , Rating: 3
My 15 yr old refrigerator is about $2 a month worse than new ones. I just replaced a bunch of appliances, my savings a year? Probably about $30-$40 a year, all Energy Star appliances.

We don't make a living with our appliances, truckers costs are a loss against profits.

RE: todays laugh
By MrTeal on 8/9/2011 5:41:56 PM , Rating: 2
Semis are already incredibly fuel efficient, a semi hauling 50,000 lbs will use less than twice as much fuel a Hummer H2 hauling two people.

This isn't mandating better fuel efficiency for a car that goes 20,000 miles a year. Strange they would go hardest after the segment that already gets great pound*mile/gallon efficiency anyway.

RE: todays laugh
By Etsp on 8/9/2011 6:31:09 PM , Rating: 3
Just because a Hummer H2 spits gas out of the exhaust doesn't mean that semis are extremely fuel efficient. I'm not saying that semis aren't rather efficient already, I'm just saying your logic is flawed.

RE: todays laugh
By Etsp on 8/9/2011 6:32:47 PM , Rating: 2
Just because a Hummer H2 spits gas
meant to say "fuel"...

RE: todays laugh
By MrTeal on 8/9/2011 6:52:28 PM , Rating: 2
*shrug* Then pick some other vehicle. I was just making the comparison to show how close a semi is to the consumer vehicle space. Most people seem to think that a semi should have fuel economy proportional to it's load and that a big truck probably gets under a mile per gallon. That's not the case.

RE: todays laugh
By titanmiller on 8/9/2011 9:16:10 PM , Rating: 2
Going up a mountain pass they probably do get about a mile per gallon, but you are right, on the flats they get on the order of 5-6mpg or even up to 10+ with a tailwind.

RE: todays laugh
By tastyratz on 8/11/2011 3:44:30 PM , Rating: 2
I'm glad you enlightened, I was one of those people.

It is interesting how they think something like economy can be legislated out of thin air. Aerodynamics certainly play a role and big rigs now make as much aerodynamic sense as a high speed pug on the salt flats... but aero will only take you so far. A big rig with a sleek long nose aerodynamic to its size will be increasingly un-maneuverable (think taking wide turns) and have poorer visibility up close (think kids crossing the road or just the car in front, etc).
The load probably matters just as much and is equally variable as well. Big rigs don't always pull just your standard box behind them and the trailers could use some efficiency rehauls just as much.

RE: todays laugh
By Jeffk464 on 8/9/2011 11:24:51 PM , Rating: 2
You are comparing gas engine efficiency to diesel which isn't really fair.

RE: todays laugh
By FITCamaro on 8/9/11, Rating: -1
RE: todays laugh
By Spuke on 8/10/2011 12:24:47 AM , Rating: 2
Hope you like it when your food and goods prices increase drastically.
What cracks me up is the same people that demand these fuel economy increases are the same people that complain about the cost of food, transportation, etc. You want good fuel economy, pay up! I can afford it so it doesn't matter to me if you can.

RE: todays laugh
By Jeffk464 on 8/9/2011 11:14:40 PM , Rating: 2
Easiest way to save fuel with big rigs is to come up with ways to avoid overnight idling. Trucks burn about a gallon an hour idling so, you are talking about 8-10 gallons a day. Trucks already have a sleeper heater that uses diesel from the fuel tanks to keep drivers comfortable when its cold. There isn't a good cheap system for drivers to stay comfortable when it hot though. I say build an electric motor driven AC compressor and provide truckers an outlet to plug the trucks in. All that is required is that you convert the AC current to DC and you could run the AC unit built into the truck without idling. Should be a cheap and easy solution.

RE: todays laugh
By spamreader1 on 8/10/2011 10:15:35 AM , Rating: 2
Some nicer truck stops have overhead or mobile devices that hook up to the passenger window to provide this stuff.

RE: todays laugh
By Jeffk464 on 8/10/2011 1:29:37 PM , Rating: 2
That idea ended up loosing money, there was to much overhead and the cost to the truck driver was to high. They mostly went out of business with a super small number still up, but now acting independently. Company drivers pay nothing to idle the truck since the company pays for fuel and the service was like $4 an hour, so you figure it out.

By Goty on 8/9/2011 3:53:37 PM , Rating: 4
I think the title of this article should read "Obama Unveils Fuel Savings Demands for Big Rigs, Heavy Duty Vehicles". Obama doesn't offer plans, he just says "get this done" without any thought as to the reality of the situation.

RE: Plans?
By Brandon Hill on 8/9/2011 3:56:13 PM , Rating: 2
So Obama is now Larry the Cable Guy? ;)

RE: Plans?
By cjohnson2136 on 8/10/2011 10:56:35 AM , Rating: 2
You realize the big rig companies such as Mack and Cummins support this right. If both the government and the people it affects support it why such a big fuss out of it.

RE: Plans?
By lagomorpha on 8/10/2011 11:48:07 AM , Rating: 2
Of course the engine manufacturers (Mack and Cummins) support it. It means a requirement to replace trucks currently on the road with newly built newly designed trucks. The question is whether operators can support it.

The companies that make trucks != the companies that use trucks to move goods.

RE: Plans?
By Spuke on 8/10/2011 4:12:28 PM , Rating: 2
You realize the big rig companies such as Mack and Cummins support this right.
If I owned either one of those companies, I would support this too!! That means most everyone has to replace their trucks, nice HUGE boost for my bottom line. I won't even mention that I'd charge more for it (WAY more). :)

RE: Plans?
By FITCamaro on 8/10/2011 6:29:45 PM , Rating: 1
Exactly. The government forcing shipping companies to buy my products? GREAT!

That's like saying auto manufacturers wouldn't support the government raising fuel prices. They know its great news for them since people will be forced into buying new cars that get better mileage (never mind that for most people its a stupid idea since the gas savings doesn't offset the car payment).

By The Imir of Groofunkistan on 8/9/2011 4:12:09 PM , Rating: 1
I don't see this creating any jobs...but it sure may cost a few. I understand we need to reduce oil consumption, but at the moment > 9% employment is screaming FIX ME. He keeps promising to address it, yet every concrete action he takes seems to make the problem worse. This is just another example of that. Yes we should increase our fuel economy. But don't demand that it be done right now when people can least afford to take the hit.

RE: umm
By Gungel on 8/9/2011 4:21:21 PM , Rating: 2
Yes it does, new more fuel efficient trucks create more jobs.

RE: umm
By The Imir of Groofunkistan on 8/9/2011 4:27:44 PM , Rating: 2
and the cost in making them more fuel efficient costs jobs

RE: umm
By Flunk on 8/9/2011 4:40:22 PM , Rating: 1
in OPEC member nations.

RE: umm
By Keeir on 8/9/2011 7:22:29 PM , Rating: 3
::rubs head::

Okay lets see if we can follow this.

Most Big-Rigs/Heavy Trucks are operated by cold heartless corportations. Not individuals who have style preferences.

Therefore, there must be some reason that more fuel efficient trucks/heavy duty etc have not been produced by the marketplace.

If, as regulatory officals claim, the payback period is less than 1 year! then these trucks should be selling like hotcakes already.

There must be a 'hidden' catch that makes government intervention needed. This catch means that although this may be a positive enviroment/society move, it is not a -economic- move. Instead of it being -cheaper- to operate the 'new' trucks, it must in some way be more expensive or more risky. In the face of higher capital costs, business will most likely trim other costs... such as labor.

Now, the other thing that occurs to me is that it is possible these advances were being made -anyway- (as Diesel prices are above 3.50 and show no sign of falling) and Obama is just trying to take credit for them with this action.

RE: umm
By FITCamaro on 8/9/2011 7:58:33 PM , Rating: 1
It's still the same damn companies creating trucks. Its not like manufacturers stopped building or designing new semis. Now they will just have to spend even more money to design them. Which means the costs will go up. And your costs for the things they haul will go up.

RE: umm
By Jeffk464 on 8/9/2011 11:29:22 PM , Rating: 1
Of course the money spent on improving trucks is spent in the US and stays in the US economy. Money spent on Diesel fuel goes mostly to foreign countries and so is taken out of the economy.

RE: umm
By Spuke on 8/10/2011 4:06:07 PM , Rating: 1
Money spent on Diesel fuel goes mostly to foreign countries and so is taken out of the economy.
And since that fuel is needed to deliver goods, that money gets put back into the economy. See how that works. Some of "you people" think we get nothing from the use of oil.

Had enough of the dope and chains yet?
By Beenthere on 8/9/2011 4:33:16 PM , Rating: 1
Well hey, let's mandate that the most fuel efficient and practical big rig Diesels get 23% better fuel economy. Maybe Bama can pull that tech outta his arse and provide it to the class 8 engine suppliers?

If fantasy mpg standards aren't enough to make your day how about a 1000 point drop in the DOW in two weeks time? How's Bama-nomics working for ya? Is your standard of living better today than it was two years ago? Do you think the criminals in DC are making an equal economic sacrifice compared to the working class?

RE: Had enough of the dope and chains yet?
By Iaiken on 8/9/2011 5:44:58 PM , Rating: 1
Is your standard of living better today than it was two years ago?

Welcome to the another episode of the blame game. In this episode we'll talk about misplaced expectations and instant gratification.

No president; not even the first, has been able to walk into the oval office to a blank slate. All of them have since had to live with the consequences of their predecessors decisions. In this case, we're looking at a deficit stuffed with around $2 trillion dollars in expenses just from the wars and interest and counting.

When the NeoCons were selling the war, Cheney quoted figures of $80 billion for the initial invasion and $10 billion per year from there for rebuilding. By his math, the country should already have been rebuilt by now at a total cost of only $180 billion dollars. WOW! In actuality, the realized cost if Iraq alone has been at least $757.8 billion to date and growing. That's hardly the walk in the park that Cheney promised Americans.

What I find more interesting is that the GAO has been unable to account for an approximate average of $600 billion dollars of Pentagon spending per year since the war started. The GAO went as far in 2010 as to state "serious financial management problems at the Department of Defense (DoD) that have prevented DoD's financial statements from being auditable." This has been the case with the DOD's books since 1998! That means that nearly $6 trillion dollars has changed hands via the Pentagon and nobody knows where it came from, where it went or if the Pentagon retained any of those assets.

When I look at this next to the 14 trillion dollar deficit I can't help but think, "well, there's your problem".

RE: Had enough of the dope and chains yet?
By Spuke on 8/9/2011 6:30:36 PM , Rating: 2
When I look at this next to the 14 trillion dollar deficit I can't help but think, "well, there's your problem".
You mean 1.4 trillion. Total debt is 14 trillion with about 68% of that held by you and me.

By Iaiken on 8/9/2011 8:01:15 PM , Rating: 2
I meant debt actually, not deficit.

By Keeir on 8/9/2011 7:40:49 PM , Rating: 2

GAO doesn't really give clean reports on anyone.

For example, in 2010, the GAO believes Medicare/Medicade made over 70 billion in improper payments. Approx 10% of the total cost of Medicare. Over 500 billion in -improper- payments since 1998. (Not just unaccounted for)

GAO also estimates 'poor' tax payment to be around 15% each year. Largely from improper refund credits used by all levels of society. Over the past decade, this has cost an estimated 3 trillion dollars.

The DoD report suggests that a number between 0-6 trillion was improperly used... but the GAO does not know which number. Using 'standard' government models, suggests a number between 600 billion - 1 trillion.

As the Largest Single Segement of the Federal Government over the past 10 years, the largest amount of waste has been with the DoD. But proper tax collection and an overall reduction of government waste from the approx 10% to 5% in all departments would indeed balance the US budget and cut into long-term debt.

By Jeffk464 on 8/9/2011 11:33:34 PM , Rating: 2
Way to oversimplify the economy.

By The Raven on 8/10/2011 1:26:56 PM , Rating: 2
Is your standard of living better today than it was two years ago?

I don't leave that to the gov't. I am the captain of my own ship. I just care that the gov't stay out of my way to leave me free to improve the standard of living of my neighbors and myself should I choose to. Unfortunately for people like me, other people don't feel the same and therefore continue to put clown after clown into office at both the state and federal levels.

Short answer: No. But then again the 8 years before that were ever so slightly better.

Clearing up some misconceptions...
By lagomorpha on 8/9/2011 5:52:48 PM , Rating: 2
The administration and many physics ignorant members of the general public seem to have this notion that technology can endlessly continue to make engines more efficient. This is not the case, there is an absolute limit. A gallon of gasoline contains 120,276,367 joules of energy, a gallon of diesel contains 136,629,733 joules of energy. That's all the work it can do. Period. And even that breaks the second law of thermal dynamics because it would mean that 100% of the chemical energy is converted into forward motion. That means no frictional losses and the exhaust gas is the same temperature as the ambient air.

Continuing to increase standards will not change the laws of physics. If you want to reduce fuel use from transporting goods you're going to need to either change transportation methods to train or pipeline, reduce the weight of the goods (do we really need 10 lbs of indestructible plastic packaging for every $5 mp3 player?), or reduce the distance the goods need to travel.

If fuel costs continue to increase significantly 2 and 3 will happen on their own because:
2: The increased transport costs will outweigh the cost of thefts prevented by using massive packaging
3: The locally grown tomato will finally cost significantly less than the imported tomato. Which will stores purchase?

RE: Clearing up some misconceptions...
By MrTeal on 8/9/2011 6:44:59 PM , Rating: 2
Well, as long as you're starting and ending at the same elevation, there's nothing saying you HAVE to use a lot of energy moving a load from one end of the country to the other. The problem is reducing losses significantly and reclaiming the energy used to accelerate when you decelerate.

It would help if you could reduce the rolling resistance substantially by using very hard wheels that have minimal deformation. A huge help would be a more aerodynamic shape, preferably something very long so that it has a very high mass/cross-section ratio. Even better would be if the transit could be segregated from normal road travel so that stops and starts are minimized. Hopefully some day some intrepid person will design a system like that.

By lagomorpha on 8/10/2011 10:19:36 AM , Rating: 2
You mean put more freight on more efficient means of transport like trains and pipelines? Couldn't agree more. Intercity trucks get around 41 ton-miles per gallon, freight trains are around 155 ton-miles per gallon. Pipelines get 280 ton-miles per gallon but at the moment there's a limit of the type of thing they can transfer (liquids...).

Often when companies want to ship multiple grades of oil through the same pipeline they put a large bead in the pipeline to separate a batch of low grade from high grade fuel. I wonder what kind of efficiency we could get by building pipelines full of water and shipping goods by pushing hallow beads full of merchandise through like tapioca through a bubble-tea straw.

Steel wheels on steel rails are great for having almost no rolling resistance. Trying to design tires with less deformation for trucks will result in significantly reduced traction which would be a massive safety risk (think 80,000 pound trucks sliding all over the road and unable to brake in a reasonable distance).

RE: Clearing up some misconceptions...
By StanO360 on 8/9/2011 8:43:47 PM , Rating: 2
They grow tomatoes in New York City for 10 million people? Cheese in Colorado Springs? Refine oil in Santa Fe?

I live in California, so almost all the food we eat is "locally grown", even the tomatoes. So you think if the government dictates packaging to companies that will solve the problem? Will they also take responsibilty for broken devices? For poor sales if it can't be displayed properly?

By lagomorpha on 8/10/2011 10:00:27 AM , Rating: 2
I did not say there should be a government mandate, I said it will happen naturally as transportation costs increase. I predict companies will get around the product display problem by creating collapsible displays out of paper that take up no space when shipped but expand to fill shelf space when unfolded.

By The Raven on 8/10/2011 1:34:59 PM , Rating: 2
The locally grown tomato will finally cost significantly less than the imported tomato. Which will stores purchase?
The answer to this depends on:
1) what kind of gov't subsidies there are for the imported tomatoes.
2) what kind of regulations the gov't places on tomato growers and sellers (imported or domestic) because an economy of scale will be favored in such cases (=cheaper imports).

In other words, if Obama, Bush or whoever wants to save us money and lower emissions, they can help by getting out of the tomato business.

Perfec*@$ Insane
By GatoRat on 8/9/2011 5:47:10 PM , Rating: 3
I work with the trucking industry. Fuel is a massive part of trucking company costs. They spend a lot of money trying to get a 1% increase in fuel savings. If they could get a 20% improvement, it would be done already.

By tdenton1138 on 8/10/2011 12:03:06 AM , Rating: 3
I do not profess to be an expert on aerodynamics or engines in general. I am, however, well aware that if anyone were to make a vehicle at anything near a competitive price which increased fuel efficiency by 20%, they would become extremely wealthy overnight ie, it would be done already.

As a rule, government mandates/regulations = higher costs for everyone. Just what we need, especially when the (global) economy is on the verge of total collapse. Change you can believe in!

By texbrazos on 8/9/2011 4:36:49 PM , Rating: 2
Why not add hydrogen to the fuel mixture? Hydrogen is created onboard via electrolizer. Exxon claims to have shrank their hydrogen generators to the size that will fit in a vehicle and reduce gas consumtion.
Little do they know the avg. joe has beat them to the punch. There are quite a few videos of truckers on youtube already doing this.

By jpa9058 on 8/10/2011 12:08:22 PM , Rating: 2
There's a company making great progress increasing fuel economy for existing big rigs, at a significantly lower price point than buying new trucks.

Check them out!

Blinded by...
By rburnham on 8/10/2011 1:41:43 PM , Rating: 2

By ppardee on 8/10/2011 1:59:00 PM , Rating: 2
No, see, a plan requires a goal and a way to achieve the goal. Obama's crew is just telling us our goal... that's not a plan. That's a mandate.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

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