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The impetus for change in the trucking sector has never been greater. Today’s high fuel prices, greater regulatory pressure and increased attention to climate change are creating a strong strategic and business rationale for the increased efficiency of truck transportation.

Heavy trucks use over 18 percent of all U.S. oil, equal to about 3.8 million of barrels a day. The average long-haul truck gets only 6 miles per gallon. Yet, tractors and trailers have not changed significantly in the past 20 years.

The North American Council For Freight Efficiency

Stemming from a Transformational Trucking Charrette RMI held in April of 2009, the NACFE seeks to ensure the safe, efficient, and profitable future of the trucking industry.

The NACFE will collect, assess, and circulate performance information from testing agencies and laboratories; collect marketing and user data; and provide understandable, up-to-date efficiency information to share with technology developers, Council members, fleet owners, and truck drivers.

Learn more about the work RMI is doing to help transform the trucking industry.

An Efficient Trucking Industry

Creating a more efficient truck and freight industry is critical to RMI's strategy to remove our dependence on oil. (See Winning the Oil Endgame)

We work actively within the trucking sector in research and consulting to help clients find efficiency solutions. Partners include:

  • Truck fleet operators
  • Truck manufacturers
  • Trailer manufacturers
  • Truck and trailer efficiency device manufacturers
  • Government agencies
  • NGOs working to promote efficiency in heavy duty vehicles 

Previous projects include work with Walmart, Logistics Management Incorporated and the Canadian Trucking Alliance.

The Future of Trucking

RMI's vision for the trucking sector's next decade of development focuses on a radical shift to more cargo being moved with less fuel.

To do this will require:

  • Increasing the aerodynamics of new trucks and trailers. Improving design can easily and effectively reduce fuel consumption while older trucks can be improved through retrofits.
  • Increasing the use of tires with low rolling resistance to reduce fuel consumption
  • Decreasing the weight of new trucks and trailers to increase the amount of cargo delivered per weighed-out load
  • Associating efficiency and productivity gains with monetary value, thus prompting uniform industry incentives for driver training, load and route optimization, and so on.
  • Increasing freight hauled per trip by mandating aggressive and internationally competitive fuel economy, length, and weight standards
  • Accelerating the adoption of efficient technologies by developing supportive policies and funding mechanisms
  • Integrated vehicle- (and fleet-) level design that utilizes the synergies of efficiency in one subsystem to enhance the efficiency of others
  • Scaling the viability and production of sustainable energy-dense fuels and hybrid power train technologies to compliment end-use efficiency improvements

By combining these critical steps with improved engines and synergistic technologies, trucks that deliver freight at half or even one-third the  will not only be possible, they will be profitable.


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