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 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.

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