Trailer efficiency should be the first item on the list when the EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration next consider fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for heavy-duty trucks, according to a report by American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.
Heavy-Duty Vehicle Fuel Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Emissions: The 2014–2019 Standards and a Pathway to the Next Phase argues that upgrades to a trailer’s aerodynamics and tires are now readily available and can deliver large fuel savings quickly, especially for tractors pulling van trailers.
The adoption of such tractor-trailer technologies could reduce oil usage by trucks covered by the new guidelines by 50 percent in 2030 and increase lifetime fuel cost savings to owners, the report says.
Earlier this month, Mercedes Benz released the “Aero Trailer,” which reduces wind resistance by 18 percent and improves fuel economy by 5 percent.
The next round of heavy-duty truck efficiency discussions is due to start by 2020 or before. During the sessions the agencies should also steer the program toward treatment of vehicles as integrated systems, rather than a collection of components, ACEEE says. That in turn will help drive better transmissions, driveline efficiency, and powertrain integration, the organization says.