Most of the food, clothes, electronics and other goods we need were transported at some point by a tractor trailer before reaching the store shelf.
Most of the food, clothes, electronics and other goods we need were transported at some point by a tractor trailer before reaching the store shelf. These are big trucks with big loads and they need powerful engines to get their goods to market.
When powerful engines are combined with long trucking distances, there is a need for a lot of fuel. A tractor trailer can use as much fuel in one day as a small car could in weeks. These vehicles can travel over 100,000km per year and use 30,000-50,000 litres of fuel annually. As a result, improving the fuel efficiency of tractor trailers can lower operating costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Opportunities for Fuel Efficiency
There are several opportunities for tractor trailers to be more fuel-efficient and the potential for cost savings is significant:
- Drive slower - By reducing truck speeds from 115 km/h to 105 km/h, trucks can improve fuel-efficiency by 7%.
- Cleaner idling - Tractor trailers use 4 litres per hour while idling. By installing an auxiliary power unit that allows a truck to have power without the engine running, trucks could improve fuel-efficiency by 8%.
- Getting aerodynamic - At 105 km/h, two-thirds of a truck's horsepower is being used to overcome drag. The adoption of a full suite of aerodynamic devices and devices for more fuel-efficient idling can reduce fuel consumption by 22%.
In addition, the Federal Government has recently partnered with the United States Environmental Protection Agency to bring its "SmartWay" program to Canada. This program provides tools and advice to the trucking industry to optimize logistics and improve fuel-efficiency. Pilot projects have been initiated in Canada and the full roll-out of the program is expected in 2012. For more information on the deployment of the SmartWay program in Canada, visit the Federal Government's website.
The Canadian Council of Energy Ministers has published an aerodynamics purchasing guide for tractor trailers, entitled "On the Road to a Fuel Efficient Truck." This includes information on installation and maintenance, the types of options that are more fuel efficient, along with estimated prices and fuel savings..
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