ARLINGTON, Va. --- The American Transportation Research Institute and truck engine manufacturer Cummins Inc. last week released updated research on the energy and emissions impacts of operating commercial vehicles at various weight classes. The research confirms potential fuel efficiency improvements achievable through the operation of higher productivity vehicles, the groups said. These efficiency improvements also yield environmental improvements.

The research uses computer modeling that reflects the operation of trucks with engines meeting current EPA engine emission standards.

"With engine manufacturers striving to make cleaner, more efficient engines, this study highlights how efficiencies can also be gained through operational changes," said Tim Solso, Cummins chairman and CEO and a member of the ATRI Board of Directors.

In addition to investigating the operation of higher productivity vehicles at gross vehicle weights greater than the current federal limit, the updated study also investigated the operation of longer combination vehicles hauling low-density freight.  For nearly every vehicle configuration studied, operating at higher weights allowed freight payloads to be increased at a greater rate than the additional fuel required to move the heavier load.

"As we look for ways to reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, without sacrificing the supply chain efficiencies that the trucking industry supports, higher productivity vehicles should be considered as a viable part of an overarching solution," said Douglas G. Duncan, president and CEO of FedEx Freight and chairman of the ATRI Board of Directors.