The North American Council for Fuel Efficiency’s 2019 Annual Fleet Fuel Study found that overall fuel efficiency for Class 8 trucks in long-haul applications continues to improve, thanks to a host of new technologies and operational practices. However, the study also found that there is a “significant” performance gap between the numbers being posted by most fleets and the best-in-class performers on the fuel efficiency front.
The study encompassed Class 8 tractors (daycabs and sleepers) and trailers in regional and long-haul applications. Its primary goal was to study the fleets’ levels of adoption of 85 technologies and practices, and the results those drove in each organization.
All 85 technologies are currently available – not prototypes, validation test units, or pre-production units. This study focuses on technologies purchased and implemented onto a fleet’s trucks and trailers. In certain cases, fleets were asked if they had retrofitted any of the devices on their equipment, but this was done for context and is not included in the adoption data.
Fleets providing data for this 2019 study include Bison Transport, C&S, Cardinal Logistics, CFI, CR England, Crete, Frito-Lay, Hirschbach, Maverick, Mesilla Valley Transportation, NFI Industries, Nussbaum, Paper Transport, Prime, Schneider, United Parcel Service, and Werner. Over the years new fleets have joined the study while others stopped or failed to report for a year.
According to NACFE, the primary finding of the 2019 study is that the 21 fleets being evaluated are increasing their rate of adoption of these technologies, and that they are enjoying improved fuel economy as a result of these efforts. The overall adoption rate for the technologies studied in this report has grown from 17% in 2003 to 45% in 2018. Not all technologies could be applied to a single tractor-trailer, as some are clearly an either-or decision.
The report cited several technologies that NACFE fleets adopted in greater quantities during 2019. The technologies with the highest adoption rates were:
- Predictive cruise control — 32% increase
- Shift-to-neutral ATMs — 29% increase
- Low rolling resistance tires — 21% increase
- Aerodynamic wheel covers (tractors) — 66% increase
- Engine start/stop for HVAC — 26% increase
- FA-4 high efficiency engine oil — 531% increase
- Use of hotels to reduce idle — 22% increase
- Tire pressue inflation systems (tractors) — 168% increase
- Trailer nose cones — 23%
- Trailer gap reducers — 1,389% increase
- Truck stop electriciation (snorkel type) — 29% increase
- Solar panels (tractor) — 126% increase
- Aerodynamic wheel covers (trailers) — 24% increase
- Mechanical turbo compounding — 25% increase