SuperTruck Making Leaps in Fuel Efficiency
February 26, 2014
Pedestrians passing by the Energy Department headquarters in Washington, D.C., on February 19 saw quite a strange sight—an ultra-modern 18-wheeler, Class 8 tractor-trailer parked outside the headquarters building. This is no ordinary truck—it’s called a SuperTruck, a demonstration vehicle that is part of the Energy Department’s SuperTruck initiative. This program’s goal is to develop tractor-trailers that are 50% more efficient than baseline models by 2015.
The truck on display, developed by heavy-duty manufacturers Cummins and Peterbilt, has exceeded this goal. Since 2010, the truck has demonstrated a 20% increase in engine efficiency and a 70% increase in freight efficiency, reaching over 10 miles per gallon under real world driving conditions on a Class 8 tractor-trailer. In comparison, an average Class 8 truck typically gets 5.8 miles to the gallon. This accomplishment is so impressive that the SuperTruck served as a backdrop to President Obama’s announcement of new fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles.
Improving the efficiency of long-haul tractor-trailers is one of the many ways that the United States can reduce the amount of petroleum we use and the carbon pollution we produce. Commercial trucks, which include Class 8 vehicles, haul as much as 80% of the goods transported in the country. Although they only make up 4% of vehicles on the road, they use about 20% of the fuel consumed. For the complete story, see the EERE Blog.