Longer truck routes save fuel, emissions: ATRI

ARLINGTON, Va. — Heavy trucks run longer on the open road will save more fuel, according to the American Transportation Research Institute.

In a new study, the research arm of the American Trucking Associations has found that a truck can use less fuel and emit fewer emission traveling a slightly longer route with higher average speeds, compared to traveling on a route with lower speeds, numerous speed limit changes and traffic signals.

The findings, prepared for the Maine Department of Transportation, came out of a simulation modeling study and an analysis on the potential energy and emissions impacts of expanding the federal gross vehicle weight exemption to additional portions of the Maine Interstate system.

ATRI compared the operation of a vehicle weighing 100,000 pounds over two different routes, including an Interstate route and a state highway route. According to the analysis, ATRI reported trip-specific fuel efficiency improvements of 14 to 21 percent when traveling over the Interstate route. Emissions were also cut by 6 to 11 percent for carbon dioxide and 3 to 8 percent for particulate matter, nitrogen oxide and NMHC.

"This research quantifies how the mutual goals of resource conservation and emission reductions could be advanced by allowing Maine to apply state weight laws to its Interstate highways," said Mike Card, president of Combined Transport, Inc. and a member of ATRI’s Board of Directors. 

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