When it comes to fuel efficiency the answer is all of the above

March 13, 2017

When it comes to improving the fuel economy for your fleet there is no one answer.  What works for one fleet may not be the best answer for another one.

In addition, there is no one technology alone that is going to get you to your mpg goals.

TMC held a Study Group Session at its recent meeting that focused on Sustainability and Environmental Technology. Dick Cupka of Ford told session attendees that manufacturers have to look at the big picture when it comes to improving fuel economy. He said there are a number of “levers” OEMs can use to achieve mpg goals. These include: engine efficiency improvements, multi speed transmissions, all wheel drive, light weighting, aero improvements and electrical load reduction.

Patrick Dean of Kenworth said to meet emissions standards manufacturers need to look at parasitic and friction loss, aftertreatment, air management, combustion, downsizing, and turbo compounding.

And while manufacturers look at a variety of factors when designing trucks to be more efficient, fleets also have choices about which technologies and devices they want on their trucks.

And just like manufacturers play with a lot of levers, as Cupka says, so too do fleets.

Our Annual Fleet Fuel Study looked at the freight efficiency of 17 major North American fleets. The bottom line is that no two fleets employed the exact same strategy to achieve their goals. But all of them employed multiple technologies.

What both manufacturers and fleets have found is that when it comes to improving fuel efficiency while there is no one right answer, checking all of the above is likely to get you much, much closer to where you want to be.

About the Author

Michael Roeth | Executive Director

Michael Roeth has worked in the commercial vehicle industry for nearly 30 years, most recently as executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE). He serves on the second National Academy of Sciences Committee on Technologies and Approaches for Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles and has held various positions in engineering, quality, sales, and plant management with Navistar and Behr/Cummins.

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