Scientists Say The Future Of Trucks Is Natural Gas And Aerodynamics

A report sponsored by the US Department of Transportation says semi-truck and busesshould get a lot sleeker and shift their primary propulsion fuel to natural gas by 2018.

The Consumer Carrier Journal tells us that the National Research Council believes transitioning large commercial vehicles from gasoline or diesel to compressed natural gas would provide enough relief on greenhouse gas emissions to make it worth cultivating the now-undeveloped CNG infrastructure.

Scientists also expressed frustration that "the majority" of new truck trailers do not use the great fuel-saving aerodynamic changes they thought up. The report reiterated that fitting side-skirts to trailers of semi-trucks "returned the investment on fuel in about a year."

Of course that isn't much of an incentive when the trailer isn't owned by the same person who owns the truck and is paying for fuel, which is often the case in trucking.

The US Department Of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are taking the National Research Council's input on advisement as they work up the new mandates for trucks President Obama discussed in his truck-efficiency
speech last month.

Obama and friends say they can save the trucking industry $50 billion and save 530 million barrels of oil, while saving the "average truck owner" $73,000 over a truck's service life through those mandates.

But 2018 isn't too far away, but it is after our current President's scheduled retirement. We'll see if his attempts to improve American trucking are able to keep movin' after he steps down.

Image: Todd McCann/Flickr