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Real Way to Save Oil..............
Old 02-14-2007, 10:41 AM   #1
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Real Way to Save Oil..............

I have a retired trucking firm owner that gave me some BIG insight into where we could lower our energy use as a country:

SEMI TRUCKS.................

He told me in 1970, the average semi got about 4 mpg as an average. Then aerodynamics and technology got involved, and now they get about 7-7.5mpg. There are about 3 MILLION semis on the roads today (18 wheelers).

If there was a way to increase gas mileage 50% in semis, US oil consumption would drop 10-15% just from that...........

I asked about hybrid technology, and he said so far the heavy motor guys can't figure out how to do that pulling 30 tons at 65 mph, and even harder is getting the whole thing from a stop to 65, which takes enormous power.

There has to be an answer!! He told me his average driver gors about 400 miles a day, and he has 30 trucks running out there. I did the math:

400 miles /7mpg X30 trucks = 1714 GALLONs of diesel fuel a day!!!!

And that doesn't count bulldozers, dump trucks, garbage trucks, etc............. :P :P
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............
Old 02-14-2007, 10:55 AM   #2
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............

When I was jumping off the back of a garbage truck we filled up the 50 gallon tank two times per week. I didn't track how many miles we drove, but it was substantial. The big difference between garbage and semis is the garbage truck normally only got up to about 15-20 mph. We were in a rural area though.

As one of my current side jobs I work for a collections agency. We deal a lot with private semi drivers. Their biggest reason for being late on payments is the cost of diesel. I'm sure they'd go for a more efficient truck in a heartbeat.
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............
Old 02-14-2007, 11:01 AM   #3
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............

If they can move a locomotive with a hybrid, they can move a semi. The real issue is upfront cost, I'd guess.

Hybrids would go a long way on postal vehicles and UPS trucks. They often idle while the driver is running packages to the door.
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............
Old 02-14-2007, 01:01 PM   #4
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............

Quote:
Originally Posted by FinanceDude
If there was a way to increase gas mileage 50% in semis, US oil consumption would drop 10-15% just from that...........
I thought that problem had already been solved...

... they're called "locomotives".
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............
Old 02-14-2007, 01:08 PM   #5
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
I thought that problem had already been solved...

... they're called "locomotives".
Doesn't solve the problem for the following reasons:

1)Congress/US doesn't want to put money into a system that is in need of 10's of billions in new track, etc.

2)Urban sprawl has created problems whereas MANY retailers are nowhere near acces to a rail yard where they can do cost-efficient shipping.

3)Lean inventory at most consumer stores, grocery, etc, mean that you have less time to get stuff there.............

Rail is still the CHEAPEST way to bulk ship, even cheaper than big ships.........

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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............
Old 02-14-2007, 01:09 PM   #6
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............

Quote:
Originally Posted by FinanceDude
SEMI TRUCKS.................

He told me in 1970, the average semi got about 4 mpg as an average. Then aerodynamics and technology got involved, and now they get about 7-7.5mpg. There are about 3 MILLION semis on the roads today (18 wheelers).
At 7mpg, semi trucks are very efficient, considering the weight they carry.

Improvement in passenger cars gas mileage is much more beneficial. Improvement in SUVs, "personal" Trucks will be even better.

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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............
Old 02-14-2007, 01:14 PM   #7
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam
At 7mpg, semi trucks are very efficient, considering the weight they carry.

Improvement in passenger cars gas mileage is much more beneficial. Improvement in SUVs, "personal" Trucks will be even better.
As a sideline, you don't have to wait to get a Prius now......apparently folks like gas being under $2.30..................
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............
Old 02-14-2007, 01:20 PM   #8
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............

The Prius is an excellent vehicle, technologically speaking. But not economical when everything is taken into account.

Gas comsumption aside, a Corolla beats the Prius hand down.
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............
Old 02-14-2007, 01:41 PM   #9
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam
The Prius is an excellent vehicle, technologically speaking. But not economical when everything is taken into account.

Gas comsumption aside, a Corolla beats the Prius hand down.
I give up a little, but like my 4-cyl Accord. I get 34-35 on the highway, and about 25 in the city. I have averaged 28-29 with my driving being mixed............
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............
Old 02-14-2007, 01:42 PM   #10
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............

Right now the truck mfg industry is in an engine transition which increased the cost of 'tractors'. Unfortunately this is happening in two steps, not one, and is largely emissions focused. The rifs at Freightliner and others in the business were forecast because many operators stocked up on vehicles before the new standards went in place.

Rail freight haulers are at capacity, working on rail beds to increase their loads (and catching up on neglect before mergers).

It will be a while before we really see the increase energy efficiency in the transportation industry. Years ago I saw biodiesel trucks in NZ, we too will get there eventually.
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............
Old 02-14-2007, 01:47 PM   #11
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............

Quote:
Originally Posted by eridanus
If they can move a locomotive with a hybrid, they can move a semi.
My understanding is that the typical US locomotive uses diesel-electric technology,
in which the wheels are driven purely by electric motors, which in turn are powered
by generators driven by a diesel engine running at laximum efficiency. Seems like
a much simpler system than today's hybrid automobile, and it's unclear to me why
the cars don't work the same way.

Of course, the bigger point still remains, that trains are a more efficient way of
moving freight across long terrestrial distances.

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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............
Old 02-14-2007, 02:42 PM   #12
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............

If the posted speed limits were enforced, cars would be going 10-15 mph slower than they are now. I heard that would reduce oil consumption by about 15%.

Better yet, go back to 55 mph like we did in the '70's.

Too simple though.

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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............
Old 02-14-2007, 03:17 PM   #13
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............

Quote:
Originally Posted by FinanceDude

Rail is still the CHEAPEST way to bulk ship, even cheaper than big ships.........
I question this. Have a link to prove your point? I did a quick search, but didn't turn up much. Apparently I'm using the wrong search terms.

Are we talkin', "a load of iron ore, 26,000 thousand tons more than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty" or are we talkin' the "occasional" load of processed lumber moved by train.

Or are you comparing Mississippi barges vs. the train tracks that run along side them?

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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............
Old 02-14-2007, 03:18 PM   #14
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............

Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyShackleford
My understanding is that the typical US locomotive uses diesel-electric technology,
in which the wheels are driven purely by electric motors, which in turn are powered
by generators driven by a diesel engine running at laximum efficiency. Seems like
a much simpler system than today's hybrid automobile, and it's unclear to me why
the cars don't work the same way.
From what I have read, Chevy's new Volt concept car runs this way. The electric motor runs the car, and it has a small gas engine that is used to charge up the electric motor/batteries.

Pure electric is a far better solution, however I won't refuse 'good' just because it isn't 'perfect'
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............
Old 02-14-2007, 03:21 PM   #15
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............

Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyShackleford
My understanding is that the typical US locomotive uses diesel-electric technology,
in which the wheels are driven purely by electric motors, which in turn are powered
by generators driven by a diesel engine running at laximum efficiency. Seems like
a much simpler system than today's hybrid automobile, and it's unclear to me why
the cars don't work the same way.
This article was informative as far as diesel-electric locomotive technology.

-CC
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............
Old 02-14-2007, 03:25 PM   #16
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............

Quote:
Originally Posted by Empty Pockets
Better yet, go back to 55 mph like we did in the '70's.
I would veto that.

I would rather drive 65mph in a Corolla than 55mph in a gas guzzler.
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............
Old 02-14-2007, 03:30 PM   #17
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............

FinanceDude, you are wrong about the energy cost of ships vs trains on a tonnage. The only reason you see grain on a train is the shipper doesn't have barge or ship access.
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............
Old 02-14-2007, 03:39 PM   #18
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............

Everyone would squawk if we went to 55 MPH, but if people are serious about being addicted to oil, that's an obvious solution.

I've sometimes wondered where we'd be now if that 55 MPH limit had never been repealed.

The disadvantages:

People want to get there faster
People enjoy driving faster
Commerce would be slower (but would spend less on fuel)
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............
Old 02-14-2007, 03:57 PM   #19
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
I've sometimes wondered where we'd be now if that 55 MPH limit had never been repealed.
I think we'd be exactly where we are today as far as driving is concerned. The difference is that we would be paying a lot more for speeding tickets
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............
Old 02-14-2007, 04:06 PM   #20
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Re: Real Way to Save Oil..............

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
I've sometimes wondered where we'd be now if that 55 MPH limit had never been repealed.
It was only repealed in Hawaii a few years ago, and only up to 65 MPH. I'm a decent driver but most Mainland highways have gone from being challenging to terrifying.

For a few months in 2002 our highways were roamed by mobile vans that would measure your speed and take a picture of you and your license plate if you were over the limit. (Due to the current events of the time they were nicknamed "Talivans".) When drivers realized that the van crews were contractors, not police officers, many creative acts of not-so-civil disobedience were reported. As the court systems began to buckle under the backlog of challenged politician's tickets, the whole experiment was aborted. It also stopped Hawaii's red-light camera legislation in its tracks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam
I think we'd be exactly where we are today as far as driving is concerned. The difference is that we would be paying a lot more for speeding tickets
I agree-- HPD gives a "grace period" of about 5 MPH over the limit. After that it's all up to you!

I still get a cheap thrill from driving 65 MPH in the five-mile stretch of H-1 that's limited to 60 MPH.
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