Study showcases use of fuel-saving tech

ARLINGTON, VA – What does it take to reach 6.5 miles per gallon (36 liters per 100 kilometers)?  A survey by the American Transportation Research Institute, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, and sponsors at ExxonMobil offers some insights into what fleets did to reach this median target.

Nearly 100 fleet managers were asked to offer their views on trends in fuel-saving technologies as well as alternative fuels. Collectively, they operate more than 114,500 tractors and 350,000 trailers.

Aluminum wheels, speed limiters and Low Rolling Resistance tires were the most common technologies used on tractors, while trailers were most likely to be equipped with Low Rolling Resistance tires, aluminum wheels, and weight-saving options.

“This report shows which technologies fleets are using and which ones they are more sketical about,” said Steve Niswander, vice president – safety policy and regulatory relations with Groendyke Transport, and chairman of ATRI’s research advisory committee. “It also serves to highlight the difficulties fleets face when deciding which technologies are the best investments.”

Biodiesel blends were the most common alternative fuels used by the groups.

The Survey of Fuel Economy and Fuel Usage by Heavy-Duty Truck Fleets can be found at

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking,, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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