Effect of Weight and Roadway Grade on the Fuel Economy of Class-8 Frieght Trucks

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In 2006-08, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in collaboration with several industry partners, collected real-world performance and situational data for long-haul operations of Class-8 trucks from a fleet engaged in normal freight operations. Such data and information are useful to support Class-8 modeling of combination truck performance, technology evaluation efforts for energy efficiency, and to provide a means of accounting for real-world driving performance within combination truck research and analyses. The present study used the real-world information collected in that project to analyze the effects that vehicle speed and vehicle weight have on the fuel efficiency of Class-8 trucks. The ... continued below

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Franzese, Oscar & Davidson, Diane November 1, 2011.

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In 2006-08, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in collaboration with several industry partners, collected real-world performance and situational data for long-haul operations of Class-8 trucks from a fleet engaged in normal freight operations. Such data and information are useful to support Class-8 modeling of combination truck performance, technology evaluation efforts for energy efficiency, and to provide a means of accounting for real-world driving performance within combination truck research and analyses. The present study used the real-world information collected in that project to analyze the effects that vehicle speed and vehicle weight have on the fuel efficiency of Class-8 trucks. The analysis focused on two type of terrains, flat (roadway grades ranging from -1% to 1%) and mild uphill terrains (roadway grades ranging from 1% to 3%), which together covered more than 70% of the miles logged in the 2006-08 project (note: almost 2/3 of the distance traveled on mild uphill terrains was on terrains with 1% to 2% grades). In the flat-terrain case, the results of the study showed that for light and medium loads, fuel efficiency decreases considerably as speed increases. For medium-heavy and heavy loads (total vehicle weight larger than 65,000 lb), fuel efficiency tends to increase as the vehicle speed increases from 55 mph up to about 58-60 mph. For speeds higher than 60 mph, fuel efficiency decreases at an almost constant rate with increasing speed. At any given speed, fuel efficiency decreases and vehicle weight increases, although the relationship between fuel efficiency and vehicle weight is not linear, especially for vehicle weights above 65,000 lb. The analysis of the information collected while the vehicles were traveling on mild upslope terrains showed that the fuel efficiency of Class-8 trucks decreases abruptly with vehicle weight ranging from light loads up to medium-heavy loads. After that, increases in the vehicle weight only decrease fuel efficiency slightly. Fuel efficiency also decreases significantly with speed, but only for light and medium loads. For medium-heavy and heavy, FE is almost constant for speeds ranging from 57 to about 66 mph. For speeds higher than 66 mph, the FE decreases with speed, but at a lower rate than for light and medium loads. Statistical analyses that compared the fuel efficiencies obtained when the vehicles were traveling at 59 mph vs. those achieved when they were traveling at 65 mph or 70 mph indicated that the former were, on average, higher than the latter. This result was statistically significant at the 99.9% confidence level (note: the Type II error i.e., the probability of failing to reject the null hypothesis when the alternative hypothesis is true was 18% and 6%, respectively).

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  • Report No.: ORNL/TM-2011/471
  • Grant Number: DE-AC05-00OR22725
  • DOI: 10.2172/1029954 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1029954
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc837814

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Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • November 1, 2011

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • June 10, 2016, 3:27 p.m.

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Franzese, Oscar & Davidson, Diane. Effect of Weight and Roadway Grade on the Fuel Economy of Class-8 Frieght Trucks, report, November 1, 2011; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc837814/: accessed November 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.