Today’s Tech Could Slash Trucking Costs, Report Finds

by | Nov 28, 2012

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The trucking sector could save 624 million metric tons of CO2e by 2022 if US tractor-trailer fleet operators adopted seven currently available efficiency technologies, according to a report published by Carbon War Room and Trimble.

The report, “Road Transport: Unlocking Fuel-Savings Technologies in Trucking and Fleets” found massive fuel cost savings and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are possible by using existing technologies.

The report focused only on technologies widely available on the market and with laboratory and field testing documenting their potential to reduce emissions. Examples include aerodynamic fairings, anti-idle device, single wide-base tires and predictive cruise control.

Investing in the seven efficiency technologies on a new truck can cost more than $30,000, a figure that includes a top-of-the line lithium-ion battery APU, aerodynamic improvements to the cabin and trailer, advanced cruise control and information and communication technologies, such as GPS routing, the report said.

However, adopting all seven technologies would provide an average fuel savings of $26,400 per truck per year, which is more than 30 percent current annal fuel costs of for a long-haul tractor-trailer. The suite of technologies have a payback period of 18 months, the report said.

The adoption of of a single physical technology could result in a 3 percent to 15 percent reduction in emissions and fuel savings over a 10-year timeframe, the report said.

As a result of the study, Carbon War Room plans to investigate how it can play a wider role in the trucking sector to address market barriers, such as access to capital, high upfront costs, education and awareness. The organization will announce the outcome of a scoping study in 2013.

More than 26 million trucks of all classes in the United States hauled more than nine billion tons of freight in 2010, consuming nearly 50 billion gallons of fuel and producing more than 402 million tons of CO2e emissions in the process, said Carbon War Room.

Efforts are underway by other organizations to reduce emissions by switching trucks over to liquefied natural gas. GE and Clean Energy Fuels announced a collaboration in November to expand LNG infrastructure to enable trucks to operate on the fuel across the United States.

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