Investigation focuses on fleet fuel usage

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), in conjunction with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) and research sponsor ExxonMobil, has released results of their investigation of 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 alternative fuels. These fleets operate more than 114,500 heavy-duty truck-tractors and approximately 350,000 trailers.

The study found the median fleetwide fuel economy of 6.5 miles per gallon was being achieved through the use of a variety of fuel-saving technologies. For truck-tractors, aluminum wheels, speed limiters, and low-rolling-resistance tires were reported as the most common fuel-saving technologies. For trailers, low-rolling-resistance tires, aluminum wheels, and weight-saving technologies were identified as the most common technologies.

Fuel-saving technologies that have shown the best and worst returns on investment were also investigated. Aerodynamic treatments and idle reduction technologies or strategies were identified by respondents as technologies that have shown both the best and the worst return on investment.

“This report shows which technologies fleets are using and which ones they are more skeptical about,” said Steve Niswander, vice-president, safety policy and regulatory relations with Groendyke Transport Inc and chairman of ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee. “It also serves to highlight the difficulties fleets face when deciding which technologies are the best investments.”

The report found limited use of alternative fuels with biodiesel blends identified as the most common alternative fuel being used today.

In foodservice-related news from study sponsor ExxonMobil, the company is expanding its Exceed XP—when eXtreme Performance matters—polymers portfolio by introducing new grades. These grades, Exceed XP 6026 and Exceed XP 6056, deliver performance advantages for resin converters and end-users in applications including films for soft-shrink and food lamination packaging.

An article on the BusinessWire website discusses these grades:

Exceed XP allows converters to cost-effectively fabricate films for extreme protection and preservation in a range of applications that include:

•Soft-shrink packaging film with the controlled holding force and toughness for high integrity wrap, overwrap and bundle packaging solutions that help brand owners protect delicate and irregularly-shaped products from manufacturer to end-use. This includes food products like pizza, meat and cheese; delicate products including bathroom and kitchen tissues; and, irregularly shaped products such as office supplies, stationery items, and air filters. Using Exceed XP, converters can enhance their business through new opportunities, more stable operations, and simplified formulations.

•Food packaging films, including pouches and bags with the extreme toughness and sealing performance that enable brand owners to protect frozen or dry foods, meat, and cheese products from production to consumption. The melt strength and toughness of Exceed XP provide film downgauging opportunities while performance is maintained. The performance and processing capabilities of these Exceed XP grades allow converters to simplify product inventories, which can lower costs.

The fuel usage technical report, titled A Survey of Fuel Economy and Fuel Usage by Heavy-Duty Truck Fleets, and the Executive Summary are available at www.atri-online.org.

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