ATRI Releases Findings on Fleet Fuel Economy and Usage

heavy-duty truck fuel economy image

On Monday, October 17, 2016, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released the results from its investigation into fleet fuel economy and fuel usage.

Nearly 100 fleet managers provided their views on current and future trends in fuel-saving technologies, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of alternatives fuels. These fleets operate just over 114,500 heavy-duty truck-tractors and approximately 350,000 trailers.Heavy-duty fleet fuel economy by fleet size table

As shown in Table ES-1, the median heavy-duty fleet fuel economy for all fleets was 6.5 mpg. Fuel economy generally increased as fleet size increased, with a 0.5 mpg difference in median values between the smallest and largest fleet categories.

Fuel-Saving Technologies

The study inquired about truck-based fuel-saving technologies. The top three technologies currently in use were found to be:

  1. Aluminum wheels
  2. Speed limiters
  3. Low-rolling resistance dual tires

The two most cited truck-based technologies with the greatest resistance to use (“would never use”) were found to be hydraulic hybrids and hybrid electric drives. These two technologies are also currently used the least by motor carriers.

The study also asked about trailer-based fuel-saving technologies. The top three technologies currently in use were found to be:

  1. Low rolling resistance dual tires
  2. aluminum wheels
  3. weight-saving technologies

The two most cited trailer-based technologies with the greatest resistance to use (“would never use”) were found to be trailer tails and low rolling resistance single tires. However, a majority of fleets are currently using or considered using singles tires.

Best and Worst Return on Investment

Fleets reported aerodynamic treatments, idle reduction technologies or strategies, and automated manual or automatic transmissions as the best returns on investment.

However, aerodynamic treatments and idle reduction technologies were also cited as two of the worst returns on investment, along with low-rolling resistance tires.

The payback period for fuel-savings technologies was found to be 12 months for smaller fleets and 24 months for larger fleets.

To request a copy of the report, click here.

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