Report | 2009

U.S. Transformational Trucking—Environment and Efficiency in Freight Mobility


The American trucking industry moves 60 percent of America’s goods using 3.5 million tractors and 5.3 million trailers. Yet despite their ubiquity, tractor-trailer designs have remained fundamentally unchanged for fifty years. Within the trucking industry, long-haul heavy-duty (Class 7 and 8) trucks offer particularly great efficiency potential. Despite accounting for less than half of the nation’s trucks, Class 7 and 8 trucks account for almost 80 percent of trucks’ fuel consumption. Their size, speed, and poor aerodynamics mean Class 7 and 8 trucks are laden with “low-hanging fruit” (cost-effective efficiency and retrofitting opportunities). According to a recent analysis by Rocky Mountain Institute, the technology already exists to double trucking efficiency.