Run on Less roadshow takes a national tour to showcase the next level of tractor-trailer fuel efficiency

Blog | August 17, 2017 - 10:00 am
By Siddiq Khan, Senior Researcher

In September, seven Class 8 tractor-trailers equipped with recent-model-year Freightliner, International, and Volvo trucks will participate in the first Run on Less roadshow to showcase fuel efficiency technologies. Organized by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) and Carbon War Room, the event will demonstrate how today’s tractors-trailers use new technologies to achieve best-in-class fuel economy. These tractor-trailers will run their actual cross-country routes, report fuel savings and carbon emissions reductions in real time, and converge in Atlanta on September 24th at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show. Top drivers will represent diverse trucking fleets, hauling heavy loads through varying terrain across the country.

Tractor-trailers consumed 1.9 million barrels of oil per day in 2016, about two-thirds of all heavy-truck fuel used. While they represent a relatively small percentage of US vehicles, they drive well over 100,000 miles annually in their first few years on the road and have high fuel consumption per mile. Thanks to the recently-adopted federal fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards, tractor-trailer fuel economy will improve by 40% in 2027 from its current average of 6 miles per gallon. This improvement will come from technological advances in engines, transmissions, aerodynamics, tires, and trailers.

Run on Less has set a goal of 9 or more miles a gallon for participants—one-and-one-half times today’s average new tractor-trailer fuel economy, and higher than the standards for Class 8 tractor-trailers in the model year 2027. What’s more, these tractor-trailers will be running in real-world driving conditions, making their ability to outperform the standards even more impressive.

The fuel efficiency feats of Run on Less tractor-trailers will point the way toward even greater heights. DOE’s SuperTruck program, a major public-private truck technology innovation partnership, gives us a preview of emerging efficiency technologies on track-tested tractor-trailers. The Cummins-Peterbilt SuperTruck, for example, achieved almost 11 miles per gallon, while Daimler’s SuperTruck demonstrated a whopping 12 miles per gallon in on-road vehicle testing over a 312-mile round trip.

Demonstrating the real-world use of today’s best tractor-trailer technologies is key to accelerating their adoption, especially in smaller fleets. Run on Less will showcase fuel efficiency under various loading profiles and road grades, and with various drivers. It will help promote advanced truck technologies that can go a long way toward improving on-road tractor-trailer fuel efficiency.