cycle that will be used to compare the performance of all three SuperTruck vehicles. In addition, fuel consumption improvements should be calculated on the basis of the EPA/NHTSA fuel consumption regulations.


The 21CTP recently proposed “efficient operations” as a new area for work under the 21CTP. The proposal is laid out in a draft white paper titled “Reducing Fuel Consumption in U.S. Trucking—A DOE-DOT Joint Study and Whitepaper” (DOE-DOT, 2011). In this draft, the two agencies explore opportunities to improve the efficiency of trucking operations, focusing on two areas of opportunity: (1) joint R&D efforts between DOE and DOT and (2) modifications of regulations (primarily DOT regulations).

Besides the many technologies available for reducing the fuel consumption of trucks, there are other ways of saving fuel that do not require any changes to vehicle or engine technologies—involving, for example, the ways that vehicles are operated and maintained, or the nature of regulations that may constrain or promote technology implementation and efficient operations. Infrastructure is also important because it can affect fuel consumption through factors such as vehicle speed fluctuation and congestion. Electronic features can be added to a truck that modify the performance of the engine or vehicle in ways that can save fuel.

The committee identified a number of areas and developed a number of findings and recommendations on the following topics for the 21CTP to consider in its white paper in formulating goals in order to reduce fuel consumption. The topics are as follows:

•   Improved aerodynamic and rolling resistance performance for trailers,

•   Exploitation of the use of intelligent vehicle systems, and

•   Assessment of the potential impact of high-productivity vehicles and providing of leadership in getting them into trucking operations.

The following major findings and a recommendation are the result of the committee’s review of the draft DOE-DOT (2011) white paper on efficient operations. They describe what the committee believes should be added to or changed in the white paper to help the 21CTP promote and enable more efficient trucking operations. (See Chapter 9 for other findings and recommendations.)

Finding 9-1. The DOE-DOT draft white paper proposes “efficient operations” as a new direction for the 21CTP. The committee agrees that this is an important area for R&D under the umbrella of the 21CTP. It also agrees that cooperation among the DOE and DOT and other agencies would be beneficial, particularly for assessing the possible effects of removing regulatory barriers to the use of fuel-saving measures.

Finding 9-10. The DOE-DOT draft white paper on efficient operations in its current form does not include any goals that could be used to prioritize and drive R&D efforts on efficient operations.

Recommendation 9-7. Specific goals for efficient operations should be developed, with strong consideration given to exploiting the potential for intelligent transportation systems (ITS) to reduce fuel consumption. In addition, priorities should be set for the R&D, testing, and data collection needed to analyze the benefits, drawbacks, and potential unintended consequences of removing barriers, including regulatory barriers, to the application of fuel-saving features. The draft white paper on efficient operations should be rewritten to take the findings and recommendations of the committee into account. The 21CTP partners, trucking fleets, and major suppliers should be involved in setting goals and research priorities


DOE (U.S. Department of Energy). 2006. 21st Century Truck Partnership Roadmap and Technical White Papers. Doc. No. 21CTP-003. December. Washington, D.C.: Office of FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies.

DOE. 2010a. Updated 21st Century Truck Partnership Roadmap and Technical White Papers. Doc. No. 21CTP-003. September 1. Washington, D.C.: Office of FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies.

DOE. 2010b. Multi-Year Program Plan, 2011-2015. Vehicle Technologies Program. December. Washington, D.C.

DOE. 2011. Updated 21st Century Truck Partnership Technical White Papers. Working draft. February 25, 2011. Washington, D.C.: Office of Vehicle Technologies.

DOE-DOT (DOE-U.S. Department of Transportation). 2011. Reducing Fuel Consumption in U.S. Trucking—A DOE-DOT Joint Study and Whitepaper. 21st Century Truck Partnership Efficient Operations White Paper Draft. February 15. Washington, D.C.

NRC (National Research Council). 2008. Review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.

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