Bringing clarity to fuel economy testing

Sometimes having too many choices is a bad thing. It can actually make things more confusing. That’s certainly true for fleets that are trying to estimate the fuel efficiency of a new technology. The sheer number of testing methods available means proper fuel economy evaluation is no slam dunk. And worse yet there are many ways to interpret the test results.

All the methods for testing fuel efficiency have value and each produces useful information. However, many of the test procedures and methods don’t equate to what happens in actual fleet operations.

One place where confusion is rampant is with the terms “precision” and “accuracy.” Precision is how closely a test result will be repeated by additional tests. Accuracy is how well the test compares to known reference values.

In an attempt to bring some clarity to the issue of fuel efficiency testing, we released a Confidence Report on Determining Efficiency. It explains why and how the various test methods differ not only from each other, but also from an individual fleet’s real-world experiences.

The report highlights the fact that not all test methods are actually evaluating the same factors and that there typically are many important qualifiers in the tests’ fine print. It’s can be like comparing apples to oranges. So it can be difficult to know how to apply the test results to your own fleet.

Large fleets often conduct their own tests and the decisions they make on vehicle technology spec’ing can influence smaller fleets that are unable to perform their own evaluations.

It seems there is plenty of data out there about the efficiency of various technologies but not all that information has been widely shared. It needs to be because doing so can help identify and quantify gaps in test and analysis processes and provide industry-supported recommendations for improvements.

Our goal is to increase confidence in technologies that improve freight efficiency. Improving understanding of the test methods used to determine potential fuel savings will go far in improving confidence fleets have in the test results and allow them to make more informed and better decisions. Let us know if our Determining Efficiency report brings more precision and accuracy to your fuel efficiency investment decisions.

TAGS: Equipment
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