NACFE finds fuel economy flat since 2018

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by Emily Atkins

After seven consecutive year-over-year increases averaging two percent, fleet-wide average fuel economy from fleets that participated in the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) Annual Fleet Fuel Study (AFFS) was flat at 7.24 MPG from 2018 through 2021.

The average MPG of the nation’s fleet has risen from 5.98 MPG to 6.24 in the last three years.

“This is a significant improvement and has helped the operators of the 1.7 million tractors operating in the U.S. reduce their fuel costs,” says Mike Roeth, NACFE’s executive director.

Still, the 15 fleets in the AFFS operating 75,000 trucks saved US$540 million in 2021 compared to the average trucks on the road.

NACFE has published the AFFS every year from 2012 to 2019 but paused for the last three years.

“Given the challenges that fleets and our entire industry had with the pandemic, NACFE decided to delay data acquisition and analysis,” Roeth says.

“Given today’s high fuel prices, the study findings are particularly relevant and should help fleets make the right decisions on adopting technologies and practices that enhance freight efficiency.”

Fleets were asked to share their adoption practices on 86 technologies that help save fuel.

“Increasing fuel efficiency is a definite sustainability action taken by fleets today. They don’t have to wait to deploy zero-emission trucks to make a difference,” Roeth added.

“In addition, we believe many of these technologies and practices will transfer to alternative fueled vehicles where they will help extend range,” says Yunsu Park, NACFE’s director of engineering and the study report’s author.

For the first time NACFE is providing an interactive benchmarking tool along with the report. This online tool gives fleets the ability to enter information on their own adoption practices for the studied technologies to see how they compare to the fleets in the study.

Fleets that use the benchmarking tool will receive a customized link to an interactive report that will include the user’s responses prioritized by the technologies that have the greatest gap between the user and the average of the AFFS fleets.

The report concludes with the following recommendations for fleets:

    • Collect and monitor fuel consumption by vehicle.
    • Commit to and budget for an ongoing plan of MPG improvement.
    • If possible, develop a test route and test driver with which to test new technologies.
    • When purchasing used equipment, purchase equipment from fleets known for having good fuel economy.
    • Allow for failure. Not all technologies will be right for your application and duty cycle.