Research Identifies Barriers to Fuel-saving Technology Uptake

September 5, 2013

By Jim Park

SHARING TOOLS        | Print Subscribe

A new fleet survey and research conducted by The North American Council for Freight Efficiency has identified what stands between fleets and better fuel economy. NACFE, in partnership with Cascade Sierra Solutions, dug deep into why there hasn't been wider adoption of several commonly available technologies that could deliver thousands of dollars in fuel savings.

Beginning with a technology adoption survey of hundreds of fleets followed by interviews with fleet decision makers, the NACFE identified five key bottlenecks to nationwide implementation of available technologies.

The first report, focused on tire pressure monitoring systems and automatic inflation systems, cites a lack of credible information on payback as the largest hurdle. That was followed by a lack of access to capital, insufficient reliability, the high initial cost of trucks and unavailability of technology.

“The report clearly shows the gap between perceptions and reality of the adoption of technologies," says Mike Roeth, executive director of NACFE. "If implemented, currently available trucking technologies could earn fuel savings of as much as $20,000 per truck with a payback time of less than 18 to 24 months.”

Roeth told Heavy Duty Trucking that he is dumbfounded as to why fleets are leaving so much money on the table when it comes to fuel savings. He believes part of the problem, oddly, might be a surplus of information.

"Fleets have to wade through all that information, decide what's credible and what is just marketing, and then make a decision on what can be a substantial investment," he says.

In the follow-up interviews to the initial survey, Roeth saw fleets getting 1.5% improvement in fuel economy just by keep tires properly inflated.

"I'd say to produce savings on that magnitude, the fleet would have had pretty poor tire management before installing the systems," he says. "In this case, we looked only at the fuel savings. Imagine what better pressure management did for their tire costs."

A summary of the tire pressure confidence report can be downloaded here.

In the coming months, NACFE will release confidence reports dealing with 6x2 tractor configurations and anti-idling devices.

Those studies and the tire inflation study were funded by the International Council for Clean Transportation. ICCT used telephone, focus group and on-line survey methods and interviewed nearly 1,900 owner-operators as well as representatives of small fleets and 20 larger fleets that own and operate over 50,000 trucks and 100,000 trailers, about their decision-making processes for adopting new efficiency technology. The stakeholder groups included for-hire and private trucking fleets, shipping and logistics companies, truck and trailer manufacturers, component suppliers and truck dealerships.

Finally, two tools have been developed for adoption analysis: a technology selection tool and a payback calculator. Confidence reports can be downloaded from the NACFE website.  

Workshop Sessions Planned

To share ‘best-in-class’ experience with technologies and promote the accelerated adoption, NACFE and its new partner Carbon War Room (the environment non-profit set up by British billionaire Sir Richard Branson) will host industry leaders is a workshop setting to share best practices and collaborate on solutions for improved freight efficiency. 

The event will include overviews of each technology, followed by small workshops to brainstorm actions to promote adoption. Each workshop will focus on one of three specific technologies: Tire Pressure Systems, 6x2 Axles, and Anti-Idling Devices.

The Trucking Efficiency Summit will be held in conjunction with Calstart’s High-Efficiency Truck Users Forum National Meeting in Chicago on Monday October 7. More information is available here.


  1. 1. Rex Emini [ September 05, 2013 @ 09:19PM ]

    Great article research if you asked all those 1900 truck drivers what there biggest cost is ill assume is fuel.
    we still need to get to the source of the fuel in the tanks yes there's a 1to3% return on wheel pressure and dynamics of truck but the real
    guide is if one product can save to 5to15% percent by adding an additive to fuel tank and reduce emissions and increase performance and reduce effects on idle there is a product that does that all year round with research and data for the past twenty years and bigger return on investment were it pays it self off and more its about getting companies and people to use it and benefit as has shown and demonstrated to do so we need to get the message across fuel will not get cheaper and efficiency were you get min 5% to some cases a maximum of 25% return on fuel cost which is highest overhead of the trucking companies on the road aside from buying your trucks and putting it back into maintenance and repairs or a new truck with results.
    the fuel tanks only get bigger. the product saving money on fuel is a main priority. This is not a sales pitch it is fact that it does work and letting people know what out there for them and there trucks.
    Syntek Global xtreme Fuel Treatment it one of a kind Chemistry and not a chemical. , worth exploring!

  2. 2. Jack [ September 06, 2013 @ 09:32AM ]

    It is a puzzle why they would not be more pro-active about saving money with fuel costs. There are so many things to consider. I have noticed that since I put on the PressurePro monitoring system on my vehicle from because the tire monitor always tells me when they are low that I am getting better mileage with each tank of gas.


Comment On This Story

Comment: (Maximum 2000 characters)  
Leave this field empty:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.


We offer e-newsletters that deliver targeted news and information for the entire fleet industry.


ELDs and Telematics

sponsored by
sponsor logo

Scott Sutarik from Geotab will answer your questions and challenges

View All

Sleeper Cab Power

Steve Carlson from Xantrex will answer your questions and challenges

View All