Green  Transport  Partnership


 A Glance  at  Clean  Freight  Strategies:

 Weight  Reduction



             What  is the challenge?

             According to the Energy Information Administration, U.S. freight trucks used over 35
             million gallons of diesel fuel in 2001. Truck fuel consumption increases with the
             weight of the vehicle. Many standard truck components are made of heavier material,
             such as steel, without weight savings in mind. Heavier trucks require more fuel to
             accelerate and to climb hills, and may reduce available capacity for cargo.


             What  is the solution?

             For every 10 percent reduction in truck weight, fuel consumption is reduced by five
             percent. Generally, the empty truck makes up about one-third of the total weight of
             the truck  plus payload. Using components made of aluminum or other lightweight
             materials can reduce the empty truck weight, known as the "tare weight," thereby
             saving fuel.

             The tare weight of a typical combination truck can be reduced in both the tractor and
             trailer. Weights saving options for the tractor include:

                Cast  aluminum alloy wheels are approximately 44 Ibs lighter than traditional
                wheels giving a total weight savings of 440 Ibs.

                Aluminum axle hubs can save over 130 Ibs compared to steel.

                Centrifuse brake drums save nearly 100 Ibs compared to standard brake drums.

             Aluminum cab frames can be at least several hundred pounds lighter than steel
             frames, but are currently unpopular with truck buyers. They are perceived to be less
             durable and add $1500 to $1700 to the cost of the truck. All major truck
             manufacturers offer lightweight tractor models that combine many weight saving
             options and are more than 1,000 pounds lighter than comparable models. These
             generally  cost about $2,000 more.

             The potential for weight savings is often even greater in the truck trailer. Lightweight
             components for trailers include:

                aluminum roof posts (saves about 75 Ibs)

                aluminum floor joists (saves about 300 Ibs)

                aluminum upright posts (saves about 600 Ibs)

                aluminum hubs and wheels (saves about 900 Ibs)
Office of Transportation and Air Quality  Mailcode?  October 2002  EPA 420-F-02-019

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Together, these options can cut empty trailer weight by 2,000 Ibs and add about
$2,000 to the trailer price. These features are currently used only in selected niche
operations like  heavy-goods and refrigerated foods carriers, but could be employed by
virtually all truck van trailers.

  The  results  are  in.
A 3,000-pound reduction in vehicle weight (approximately four percent) improves fuel
economy by 1.8 percent. For a typical long-haul freight truck, this would reduce fuel
use by nearly 300 gallons annually, save $450, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
by more than one metric tonne per year. In addition, for trucks that reach the
maximum legal road weight, lightweight components allow for more cargo and
increased productivity.
Next Steps
Individual lightweight components can be selected as options on all new trucks. Most
truck manufacturers offer lighter versions of their models that incorporate a package
of weight saving measures. Two examples are:

   Kentworth offers a lightweight version of its T800 day-cab tractor that weighs
    12,900 Ibs, about 2,100 Ibs lighter than the base model T800.

   Freightliner offers a lightweight version of the Century Class S/T truck intended
    for dry and liquid bulk haulers as well as other weight sensitive operations. It is
    1,200 Ibs lighter than the base model.

Talk to your dealer about lighter weight versions of the truck you are considering. For
more information contact the American Trucking Association at www.trucking.org.
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