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 Argon18 on 8/9/2011 5:42:05 PM , Rating: 0
[quote]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. [/quote]
Um, no. Hybrid does NOT work for large heavy vehicles. The bank of batteries required to provide 2000 ft/lbs of torque would weigh tens of thousands of pounds. It simply doesn't work, end of discussion.

The trains you mention are NOT hybrids. They are 100% electric trains. The electricity is supplied by an onboard diesel generator. Hybrid implies that the internal combustion engine can drive the wheels, where in these trains that clearly isn't the case. It's 100% electric, with the electricity being supplied by a diesel generator. That arrangement would indeed likely work for some heavy duty trucks, but not all. after all, a locomotive is a huge thing with plenty of room for massive electric motors, while a utility vehicle like a concrete truck is rather tight on space.

Want to improve MPG? Quit forcing this crap ethanol gas on us, encourage the manufacturers to bring the small eurodiesels here to the US. The best selling light truck in the US, the Ford F-150 is only available with gas guzzler gasoline engines. Offer it here with a turbo diesel V6 and you'll see an immediate 30% improvement in MPG improvement, and a noticeable improvement in Ford's fleet average. It's a no brainer decision, but unfortunately, the powerful corn lobby wants to push Ethanol, and greedy oil companies want to sell all their diesel fuel to europe where it commands a higher price, and therefore higher profit margins for them.

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.

“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls

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