NACFE’s annual benchmark study examines fuel efficiency of fleets

Fleets operating 41,000 tractors and 130,000 trailers achieved fuel savings of $7,200 per year per truck by adopting a variety of new technologies, according to a new study released by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency.
Since 2011, NACFE has conducted its annual Fuel Efficiency Benchmark Study, a report of 10 of the largest most innovative fleets in terms of using products and practices to improve fuel efficiency. The studied fleets, which represent 2.5% of all trucks on the road, include regional and longhaul carriers that haul refrigerated cargo and dry goods.
The 2014 study revealed that the average purchased adoption rate of fuel-saving technologies has increased from 31% to 50% since 2003. As a result, these fleets are achieving 6.77 mpg on average, an 8% increase since 2011.
This study looks at 66 fuel efficiency technologies in six categories: idle reduction, chassis, practices, tires/wheels, tractor aerodynamics, and trailer aerodynamics. Fleets that participated in the study shared their implementation experiences and best practices for using the technologies. The study offers insights for other fleets considering adding these products or practices in the future.
Fleets are almost universally specifying aerodynamic tractors, bumpers, and mirrors as well as setting engine parameters for fuel efficiency. Other technologies with high adoption rates include full height roof air fairings, minimizing fifthwheel height, synthetic transmission oil, limiting speed, and training drivers for fuel economy.
Technologies that fleets are frequently using include:
•Tractor chassis skirts—partial 40%, up from 27% in 2012
•Fixed fifthwheel with minimum gap 51%, up from 38% in 2012
•Specified weight reduction on tractors 54%, up from 44% in 2012
•Specified weight reduction on trailers 60%, up from 50% in 2012
•Spec’ing dead axles 14% up from 10%, in 2012
•Move to automated transmissions 20%, up from 0% in 2012
The full report can be downloaded at www.nacfe.org.

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