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Preliminary Results of Log Truck Fuel Usage Study Revealed

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. - When the Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada (FERIC) held a conference in Grande Prairie recently, the institute's Garth Fraser took the opportunity to update atten...


GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. – When the Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada (FERIC) held a conference in Grande Prairie recently, the institute’s Garth Fraser took the opportunity to update attendees about an ongoing log truck fuel consumption survey.

The project’s objective was to determine the fuel consumption rates for log trucks.

After all, fuel is the single largest operating costs in the trucking part of the forestry sector after labour.

But it’s no easy task to gauge fuel usage, especially considering there are a number of factors that are not always consistent.

Fraser explained that terrain, the percentage of time on-highway versus the percentage of time off-highway, and the driver himself are all issues which threaten to skew the numbers.

“The biggest variable and the most difficult to actually account for is the driver,” said Fraser.

FERIC has been testing units in four B.C. locations – two on the coast and two in the Interior.

Most recently, the testing has revolved around ensuring data obtained through the use of Electronic Control Modules (ECMs) is accurate.

Rather than blindingly trusting ECM data, FERIC has been double-checking all data to ensure that it’s accurate.

So far, researchers have found that in some cases the ECM data has over-reported fuel usage while at other times it has under-reported – by as much as seven per cent.

“There was significant variability observed between the ECM and fuel used,” Fraser said at the conference.

“We hope that as our numbers increase, the variability will be reduced,” he added.

He also said more data was needed before any conclusive results can be observed.

Some observers expressed concern about the fluctuation between ECM and real-life data, but FERIC is continuing to explore solutions to the problem.

Testing on log truck fuel consumption will be one of the many projects FERIC continues to work on as 2004 rolls around.


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