Study finds increased adoption of fuel-efficient products by US fleets

Avatar photo

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A study by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) shows an increased rate of adoption and improved fuel consumption by US fleets. More than 41,000 tractors and 125,000 trailers were part of the 2013 Fuel Efficiency Benchmark Study, which looked at “ten of the largest, most innovative fleets with respect to the use of products and practices to support high levels of fuel efficiency.”

The survey results, which were announced at the American Trucking Associations’ annual Technology and Maintenance Council last week, found that fleets were saving on average $5,700 per year or $22,800 over four years in fuel expense. These figures mark a $1,300 savings per truck per year change from the NACFE’s 2011 study, using the original eight fleets’ data, according to officials.

The study analyzed the adoption of 60 known technologies and practices available to fleets over the past 10 years. The average purchased adoption rate of these products increased from 31% to 50% over the period of 2003 through 2012, and the average fuel economy performance of the trucks improved 0.53 mpg against a “business as usual” prediction for emissions technologies and very limited adoption.

Fleet operating practices, including technologies such as speed limiting, utilization of routing software systems, driver training and others, were universally adopted at about 90%. Tires and wheels, including wide-base tires, low rolling resistance duals, aluminum wheels and tire inflation and monitoring systems, have made the most dramatic improvement in adoption, according to the NACFE, moving as a group from 15% to about 35%. Officials say trailer aerodynamics is an emerging area with very low adoption, with many of the products available only since around 2007 and now with fleets choosing to add them 20% of the time on new trailers.

“We’re data-driven at Ryder, so we saw immediate value in quality data about what other good companies are doing,” said Scott Perry, vice-president of vehicle supply management at Ryder Management. “That in turn will benefit everyone, because when manufacturers have more confidence about the market for their solutions, they can make investments that bring down costs. We can also have more informed conversations with regulators and take a more focused approach to influencing public policy in areas such as alternative fuels.”

“One of the most insightful findings and useful data for all stakeholders from the report is the detailed technology adoption experience by the fleets; this can be used by your team to identify how your particular strategies match the other fleets in the study,” said Mike Roeth, executive director of NACFE.

For a summary of the study’s findings, visit

Avatar photo

Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry.

Have your say

This is a moderated forum. Comments will no longer be published unless they are accompanied by a first and last name and a verifiable email address. (Today's Trucking will not publish or share the email address.) Profane language and content deemed to be libelous, racist, or threatening in nature will not be published under any circumstances.