Reducing heavy-duty long-haul combination truck fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

This study provides an assessment of available and emerging technologies that could be used to reduce CO2 emissions and lower fuel consumption from new heavy-duty long haul combination trucks in the United States in the 2012 to 2017 timeframe. Its findings are drawn from the results of original cost and technology analyses conducted for this study, together with information obtained from previous studies and reports.

In 2006, transportation sources emitted approximately 40 percent of all GHG emissions in the United States. Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (above 8,500 gross vehicle weight rating) represent about 22 percent of the transportation emissions, up from 15 percent in 1990 (EPA2009). Trucking is energy-intensive and accounted for 69 percent of freight energy use, consuming 2.35 million barrels of oil per day in 2008 and generating 363 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (EIA, 2009). Hence trucks are an important place to look for energy savings and climate change mitigation in the transportation sector.

There were over 11 million medium- and heavy-trucks (those over 10,000 pounds GVWR, Class 3 through 8 on U.S. roads in 2008 and 684,000 new medium and heavy trucks were sold into the market in that year (Polk, 2008). Sales of individual models number in the hundreds or thousands, in contrast to the tens or hundreds of thousands for car models. While truck owners and operators are more affected than passenger vehicle users by fuel expenses,the demand for fuel economy has historically not been sufficient to bring all cost-effective efficiency technologies into the market. Manufacturer risk, low fuel prices, lack of fuel economy information on individual models, and undervaluation of fuel economy all limit the introduction of fuel saving technologies.