Smarter Trucking Saves Fuel Over the Long Haul
As truck fleets and policy makers aim to curb big rig fuel consumption, the secret weapon is driver behavior.
Long-haul truckers from all over the United States gathered in East Liberty, Ohio, to watch as drivers navigated laps around a track—first at 55 mph, and then at any speed of their choosing. With a few exceptions, they burned less fuel in the first, speed-limited, trial.
More than three decades later, the double-nickel U.S. speed limit—enacted in the wake of the 1973 Arab oil embargo—has faded into history on most highways. But so has credibility for the claim that higher truck speeds beget better fuel economy.
In fact, road-speed "governors," electronic engine controls that limit driver speed, are standard equipment on modern 18-wheelers. In Europe all trucks have their road-speed governors set by the factory to a specified value determined by law.