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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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

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