Nearly 80% of US domestic freight involves the use of heavy trucks.
That's why the Oak Ridge National Laboratory' is trying to make the trucking industry more efficient.
ORNL wants to find the benefits to equipping trucks with new, energy-efficient technology.
It's called the "heavy truck duty cycle project".
A year ago, the company launched a pilot program where they monitored north and south routes and east and west truck routes.
They calculated wind resistance, fuel efficiency and measured that with road and weather conditions to see what trucking companies can do to improve efficiency on the roadways.
Now, ORNL is beginning the first real world study, where they take six trucks and ten trailers, equip them with instruments to measure those factors and constantly monitor them for 12-months as they run their normal routes throughout the nation.
Wider tires and weather stations are among some of the equipment being used.
Researchers hope the study will identify opportunities to increase efficiency in the trucking industry which will have a direct impact on our fuel consumption and help reduce the united states' dependency on foreign oil.
Ray Boeman, National Transportation Research Center director of transportation program says, "but also on the economy because it will help us become, this trucking sector, which many cases are small trucking companies, will help them become more economical and then that benefit will then be passed on to the consumer."
ORNL is teaming up with a local trucking company, Schrader Trucking out of Jefferson City for this project.
Dana of Kalamazoo Michigan and Michelin of Greenville South Carolina are also partnering in the study.
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