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NREL Analysis Contributes to Fuel Efficiency Standards for Trucks

November 29, 2016

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation recently adopted a second round of greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that are expected to cut carbon-based emissions by an estimated 1.1 billion metric tons, save approximately $170 billion in fuel costs, and reduce oil consumption by as much as 2 billion barrels. NREL data and analytic expertise provided information crucial to the development of these new standards.

The EPA Phase II standards encourage the development and deployment of cleaner, more fuel-efficient trucks through model year 2027. Under an interagency agreement with the EPA, NREL conducted in-depth analyses to characterize the on-road driving behavior of medium- and heavy-duty vocational vehicles operating in the United States.

NREL's innovative analytic and data visualization techniques employed the Fleet DNA database -- which houses nearly 10 million miles of real-world drive cycle data -- and the Peregrine high-performance computing system to segment U.S. medium- and heavy-duty vocational vehicle drive cycle characteristics into multi-dimensional operating groups reflective of urban, mixed urban, and highway driving conditions.

"Based on our analysis, we developed a series of testable transient drive cycles and weighting factors representative of the acceleration rates, speed distributions, and idle times seen in real-world commercial vehicle driving," said NREL Transportation Engineer Ken Kelly. "Such representative drive cycles allow vehicle manufacturers to more accurately and efficiently develop technologies that meet the performance requirements of specific vehicle vocations -- such as delivery vehicles, transit buses, utility trucks, and garbage trucks, to name a few -- while minimizing fuel consumption and emissions."

To learn about NREL's drive cycle analysis capabilities, refer to the new Drive Cycle Analysis Tool.