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: 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).

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