Medium- and heavy-duty trucks are responsible for a quarter of U.S. highway petroleum consumption and a majority of the nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions. Alternative fuel and advanced technology trucks have the potential to significantly reduce the nation's petroleum consumption and emissions.
Many medium- and heavy-duty truck applications employ alternative fuel and advanced technologies. For example, prototype hybrid electric trucks have been developed for package delivery applications, which have start-stop driving patterns that create potential efficiency gains when hybrid technology is used. Natural gas trucks typically can be found in centrally fueled fleets, such as refuse trucks and street sweepers.
Advanced technologies are also used for idle reduction in trucks. Targeted primarily at over-the-road tractor-trailers, these technologies can reduce fuel use and emissions by reducing engine use for climate control and other auxiliary loads.
Advanced Vehicle Testing Activity truck projects are designed to help fleet owners and operators make purchase decisions by providing them with comprehensive laboratory and fleet test data on viable alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. Project types include technology studies and evaluations of specific vehicles in a fleet. The most important vehicle propulsion technologies considered for fleet evaluations are those that appear to have a significant chance of commercialization.