'Convoy' Proposed for Stricter Big Rig Fuel Standards

photo convoy big rigs trucks ucs fuel standards

The 'Convoy' design, from the Union of Concerned Scientists

What's that Rubber Duck? Is CB humor too obscure? Believe it or not, medium- and heavy-duty trucks, which do lots of hauling in the U.S., aren't subject to fuel efficiency standards. The Union of Concerned Scientists says new government proposals for fuel (and carbon) standards would clean up our air and help truckers keep more money in their pockets. Another idea: The "Convoy," a virtual big rig truck design that demonstrates how clean technology could cut truck oil consumption.

The proposed fuel and global warming pollution standards were released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency.

UCS says big rigs represent only 4 percent of the vehicles on the road, but the trucks consume about 20 percent of the fuel. The proposed standards would reduce fuel consumption from long-haul tractor trailers by 20 percent by 2017.

As for the "Convoy," it incorporates existing and near-term technologies that UCS says could reduce tractor-trailer fuel consumption by 35 percent by 2017.

"Ain't she a beautiful sight?"

Among the design features: New trucks built with better aerodynamics and lighter materials, running with improved engines and battery storage systems that avoid engine idling and hybrid systems that capture and re-use braking energy and engine heat.

Of course, new trucks cost more money than existing trucks. But can you put a price on cleaner air? Actually, yes. UCS breaks it down like this:

photo ucs convoy truck breakdown-2

More on Fuel Efficiency
EPA to Set Even Tougher Fuel Economy Standards for 2017-2025
See-Through Car is Super Efficient (307 mpg!)

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