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Advanced Technology Counters Rising Fuel Costs

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), reports that 96 percent of all diesel fuel consumed in the United States is refined domestically. The remaining four percent is imported, with most of that - 80 percent - coming from Canada.

Diesel Price Projections

According to the EIA’s Short Term Energy Outlook released on June 6, diesel prices are projected to continue their upward movement through 2018. After bottoming out at an annualized average of $2.31/gal in 2016, this year’s overall average is projected to be $2.66/gal. At present, the EIA projects a further increase to $2.81/gal in 2018. Of course, these figures remain well below the higher $3.00+ rates which prevailed through much of the three-year period from 2012 to 2014.

Technology to Counter Fuel Prices 

Higher fuel costs always increase interest in semis capable of delivering better fuel economy. For example, the C10 project seeks to improve fleet averages to more than 10 mpg. The project began in 2013 when a group in Tennessee modified a ProStar truck and dubbed it the RX-C10. It featured improved aerodynamics and a modified Cummins ISX powertrain. The first demo model was delivered in January 2014, and it delivered 8.2 mpg in its first test.

The second phase of the project uses an International LT with the new Cummins X-15 engine. Those involved implemented changes to the “NextGen C10” that will hopefully deliver the coveted 10 mpg in day-to-day, real-world fleet operations. Thus far, overall averages stand at 9.2 mpg. One local fleet in Tennessee did achieve a 9.9 mpg average, however.

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