The North American Council for Fuel Efficiency’s 2019 Annual Fleet Fuel Study found that overall fuel efficiency for Class 8 trucks in long-haul applications continues to improve, thanks to a host of new technologies and operational practices. However, the study also found that there is a “significant” performance gap between the numbers being posted by most fleets and the best-in-class performers on the fuel efficiency front, reports Heavy Duty Trucking magazine.
The study encompassed Class 8 tractors and trailers in regional and long-haul applications. Its primary goal was to study the fleets’ levels of adoption of 85 technologies and practices, and the results those drove in each organization.
All 85 technologies are currently available – not prototypes, validation test units, or pre-production units. This study focuses on technologies purchased and implemented onto a fleet’s trucks and trailers. In certain cases, fleets were asked if they had retrofitted any of the devices on their equipment, but this was done for context and is not included in the adoption data.
Fleets providing data for this 2019 study include Bison Transport, C&S, Cardinal Logistics, CFI, CR England, Crete, Frito-Lay, Hirschbach, Maverick, Mesilla Valley Transportation, NFI Industries, Nussbaum, Paper Transport, Prime, Schneider, United Parcel Service, and Werner. Over the years new fleets have joined the study while others stopped or failed to report for a year.
- According to NACFE, the primary finding of the 2019 study is that the 21 fleets being evaluated are increasing their rate of adoption of these technologies, and that they are enjoying improved fuel economy as a result of these efforts. The study found, the 21 fleets operating 73,844 trucks saved $895.32 million in 2018 compared to the average trucks on the road.
The overall adoption rate for the technologies studied in this report has grown from 17% in 2003 to 45% in 2018. Not all technologies could be applied to a single tractor-trailer, as some are clearly an either-or decision.
The average fleet-wide fuel economy of the trucks in this study was 7.27 mpg in 2018 — a slight increase from the 7.23 in 2017 – although the report’s authors’ note there is variability in each fleet’s yearly fuel efficiency depending on many factors.
Overall, the study reached the following conclusions:
- New factors have emerged that influence decisions by fleets to improve efficiency, including the current cost of fuel, potential future cost, federal and local regulations, and increasing public demand for more sustainable operations.
- Fleets continue to adopt fuel-saving technologies. They are implementing technologies on tractors and trailers, improving overall adoption to 45%.
- Manufacturers accelerated delivery of technologies. They are delivering more advanced generations of existing technologies to shorten the payback period and mitigate the challenges of adoption. Other advancements come both as novel technologies that provide the same function in a different way and new technologies that address areas not considered in the past. 2018 also provided more new trucks that comply with Phase 1 of the federal GHG rule, and manufacturers are also developing technologies to meet GHGp2 starting in January 2021.
Full story here.