Securing America's Future Energy

SAFE Analysis of Heavy-Duty Sector Identifies Near and Long-Term Solutions to Increase Road Safety, Fuel Efficiency and Cost-Savings

Contact: Leslie Hayward | 202.461.2364 |

Adoption of platooning technologies and federal approval of twin-33 foot trailers alone could save 43 billion gallons of diesel through 2050.

Washington, D.C.— A new report released today by Securing America’s Future Energy’s (SAFE) entitled “Heavy Duty Innovation: Energy, Automation & Technology in the Trucking Sector” identifies technologies and policy recommendations that could lead to a safer, more efficient trucking industry, while improving the country’s economic and national security by reducing our oil dependence.

“The transportation sector is in the midst of a technological revolution and policymakers have an opportunity to ensure the trucking industry is given the flexibility it needs to maintain America’s competitive advantage and spur economic growth. Innovative vehicle designs, as well as platooning, connectivity and automation technologies have the ability to enhance roadway safety, increase fuel efficiency and result in significant cost savings for all Americans,” said Robbie Diamond, President and CEO of SAFE.

The report identifies a number of current and future trucking technologies that can enhance road safety and increase fuel efficiency, including vehicle design innovations, connected vehicle technology and retrofitting of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

SAFE’s analysis found:

  • At only 4 percent of the U.S. fleet, long-haul trucks account for 13 percent of daily petroleum consumption.
  • The adoption of linked 33-foot trailers, known as twin-33s, will result in an estimated 23 billion gallons of diesel saved by 2050.
  • The widespread use of existing platooning technologies could save up to 20 billion gallons of diesel fuel through 2050.
  • The trucking industry is likely to be an early implementer of autonomous vehicle technology because freight transportation presents a more predictable and less complex driving environment than urban roads. However, these efforts are being threatened by Congress, which has omitted heavy duty trucks from current autonomous vehicle legislation.

To encourage the adoption of these technologies and grasp these potential savings, SAFE proposes a range of potential policy recommendations that can provide the necessary clarity and flexibility for the trucking industry. These recommendations include:

  • Truck platooning should be exempted from existing following distance laws.
  • The federal government should pre-empt the ability of states to set their own autonomous standards.
  • Congress should transition to performance-based standards for commercial vehicles and, in the interim, authorize the use of twin 33-foot trailers.
  • The federal government should quantify the fuel efficiency implications of ADAS technologies.
  • The federal government should preserve the 5.9 GHz spectrum band for V2X communication.

The full report can be found here.


About Securing America’s Future Energy

Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) is an action-oriented, nonpartisan organization that aims to reduce America’s dependence on oil. Near-total dependence on petroleum in the transportation sector undermines the nation’s economic and national security, and constrains U.S. foreign policy. To combat these threats, SAFE advocates for expanded domestic production of U.S. oil and gas resources, continued improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency, and transportation sector innovations including electric vehicles, natural gas trucks, and autonomous vehicles. In 2006, SAFE joined with General P.X. Kelley (Ret.), 28th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, to form the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a group of business and former military leaders committed to reducing the United States’ dependence on oil. Today, the ESLC is co-chaired by Frederick W. Smith and General James T. Conway (Ret), 34th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.

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