Savings hailed after slower driving experiment


ATA backs Scania effort that points to reduced fuel use, emissions and cost

By Rob McKay | March 4, 2011

Scania has added experimental data to the slower-driving debate, saying $10,000 a week could be saved on a Sydney-Melbourne return run if trucks travelled at 90 kmh rather than 100 kmh.

Slower driving is already being used by several companies, including Simon National Carriers, but Scania says the debate needs to be given more impetus.

It roped in Australian Trucking Association Chief Executive Stuart St Clair and an industry journalist to oversee the experiment dubbed the Scania Fuel Duel.

Undertaken was a two-day run that saw two of the company’s driver trainers in two identical Scania R 560 V8-powered prime movers pull B-double sets from Melbourne to Sydney and back

The sets were loaded with 19 tonnes in each trailer, comprising concrete road barriers weighing around 2,400 kg each.

While travelling 1,536 km for the round trip, the drivers, Alan McDonald and Peter Huddle, were instructed to perform in a regular manner and not to feather the throttles.

In Sydney, the vehicles had their speed limiters reversed, so the vehicle that travelled up at 90 kmh returned at 100 kmh and vice-versa.

Fuel savings

While the fuel saving on the outward journey amounted to 10 percent, the overall round trip saving was 6 percent.

The $10,000 saving was based on a diesel price of $1.27c per litre, allowing for the diesel fuel tax credit.

Scania Australia Managing Director Roger McCarthy pointed to savings in speed, fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions as proof of the value of more efficient driving.

"With the impending Carbon Tax, and greater environmental awareness, Scania feels the time is right to reignite the debate around the benefits of voluntarily reducing cruising speed limits," McCarthy says.

The company says it would like to open up the debate about the relationship between speed and fuel costs, as well as emissions, "mindful of the fact that harmful emissions from exhaust gases have been substantially reduced in recent years with the (in some cases belated) adoption of European emissions standards in Australia, and notes that the yet more stringent Euro 6 standard is yet to be mandated here".

While the fuel saving on the outward journey amounted to 10 percent, the overall round trip saving was 6 percent.

The $10,000 saving was based on a diesel price of $1.27c per litre, allowing for the diesel fuel tax credit.

Scania conducted a similar run from Melbourne to Tarcutta in December, pulling single trailers.

"The results we obtained then were consistent with the results we have recorded with B-doubles, suggesting there are meaningful benefits to be obtained by a wide variety of operators," Roger says.

"It will not only be line-haul fleets that can benefit from the lower speed, but any operator covering long-distances at constant cruising speeds," he said.

While underlining the ATA’s opposition to enforced lower operating speeds across the industry, St Clair says that travelling at 90 kmh did not seem slow.

Benefits

"This test reinforces the message that fuel savings are possible," he says.

"Consumption savings and environmental benefits can be achieved.

"We will be faced with a Carbon Tax whether we like it or not.

"There are still many people who run too fast. They don’t care about fuel. I don’t think the industry is serious yet (about fuel). Fuel is not expensive compared with Europe.

"If the industry is serious about saving fuel, this is one way. Another is driver training, and an auto gearbox. But lots of drivers still like to rev engines.

"I am not suggesting the ATA would support mandatory lower speed limits. I am not saying that at all. But if you want to be serious about saving money and saving fuel, this is a way to do it."

Scania’s expriment found that:

· From Melbourne to Sydney, the truck travelling at 100 kmh used 45 litres more fuel than the truck travelling at 90 kmh (494 litres
vs. 449 litres)

· From Sydney to Melbourne, the truck travelling at 100 kmh used 11 litres more fuel than the truck travelling at 90 km/h (486 litres vs. 475 litres)

· From Melbourne to Sydney, the truck travelling at 100 kmh emitted 118 kg more carbon dioxide than the truck travelling at 90 kmh (1308 kg vs. 1190 kg)

· From Sydney to Melbourne, the truck travelling at 100 km/h emitted 30 kg more carbon dioxide than the truck travelling at 90 kmh (1290 vs. 1260 kg)

· From Melbourne to Sydney, the average speed across the entire journey was 85 km/h for the truck limited to 100 kmh and 77 kmh for the truck limited to 90 kmh.

· From Sydney to Melbourne, the average speed across the entire journey was 88 kmh for the truck limited to 100 kmh and 80 kmh for the truck limited to 90 kmh.

· From Melbourne to Sydney, the differential in actual driving time amounted to 40 minutes.

· From Sydney to Melbourne, the differential in actual driving time amounted to 53 minutes.

Scania Fleet Management System monitored both journeys and provided accurate fuel consumption reports as well as travelling times.

The drivers took mandatory rest breaks along the route to comply with relevant fatigue management laws.

The prime movers used were drawn from the Scania Truck Rental fleet.

One vehicle had covered almost 70,000 km and the other around 96,000 km before the test.

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