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Transformational Trucks: Determining the Energy Efficiency Limits of a Class-8 Tractor-Trailer

Feasible technological improvements in vehicle efficiency, combined with “long combination vehicles” (which raise productivity by connecting multiple trailers), can potentially raise the ton- mile efficiency of long-haul heavy tractor-trailers by a factor ~2.5 with respect to a baseline of 130 ton-miles/gal. Within existing technological and logistical constraints, these innovations (which don#t include such further opportunities as hybrid-electric powertrains or auxiliary power units to displace idling) could thus cut the average fuel used to move each ton of freight by ~64 percent. This would annually save the current U.S. Class 8 fleet about four billion gallons of diesel fuel and 45 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. The authors# next paper will quantify these improve$ments# apparently attractive economics. Further benefits would include lower shipping costs, bigger profits for trucking companies, fewer tractor-trailers on the road, and fewer fatal accidents involving them. Thus transformational, not incremental, redesign of tractors, trailers, and (especially) both as in integrated system can broadly benefit economic prosperity, public health, energy security, and environmental quality. (July 2008).

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Date Of Record Release 2008-08-26 15:16:17
Description Feasible technological improvements in vehicle efficiency, combined with “long combination vehicles” (which raise productivity by connecting multiple trailers), can potentially raise the ton- mile efficiency of long-haul heavy tractor-trailers by a factor ~2.5 with respect to a baseline of 130 ton-miles/gal. Within existing technological and logistical constraints, these innovations (which don#t include such further opportunities as hybrid-electric powertrains or auxiliary power units to displace idling) could thus cut the average fuel used to move each ton of freight by ~64 percent. This would annually save the current U.S. Class 8 fleet about four billion gallons of diesel fuel and 45 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. The authors# next paper will quantify these improve$ments# apparently attractive economics. Further benefits would include lower shipping costs, bigger profits for trucking companies, fewer tractor-trailers on the road, and fewer fatal accidents involving them. Thus transformational, not incremental, redesign of tractors, trailers, and (especially) both as in integrated system can broadly benefit economic prosperity, public health, energy security, and environmental quality. (July 2008).
Classification
Resource Type
Format
Subject
Source Rocky Mountain Institute
Keyword Trucking
Selector Offley
Date Of Record Creation 2008-08-26 14:57:05
Education Level
Date Last Modified 2008-08-26 15:59:57
Creator Michael Ogburn, Laurie Ramroth, Amory B. Lovins
Language English
Date Record Checked: 2008-08-26 00:00:00 (W3C-DTF)

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