Nigel Clark, the George Berry Professor & George Berry Chair of Engineering in the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, helped the National Research Council produce a new, congressionally mandated report that evaluates technologies to reduce the fuel consumption of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

Clark serves on the Council’s Committee on Assessment of Fuel Economy Technologies for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles, which includes leading emissions experts from the government, private industry and higher education.

“This was a fascinating task because truck activity is so diverse and the transportation sector is so complex,” Clark said. “The committee was truly interdisciplinary in nature, and had experts in vehicle technology, engine designs, transportation logistics, policy and economics. It was an honor to work with national leaders in these areas to summarize possibilities and approaches to increasing energy efficiency for the trucking industry.”

Medium and heavy-duty vehicles, such as tractor-trailers, transit buses, and work trucks, account for about 26 percent of U.S. transportation fuel use. Agencies should measure these vehicles’ fuel economy in a way that takes into consideration the weight they carry, rather than the miles-per-gallon standard used for passenger cars, the report said. Among the recommendations is that Congress should consider imposing a fuel tax as an alternative to fuel-economy standards.

The National Research Council, a component of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine, is part of a private, nonprofit institution that provides science, technology and health policy advice under a congressional charter first signed by President Abraham Lincoln. The four organizations are collectively referred to as the National Academies. The NRC’s mission is to improve government decision-making and public policy, increase public education and understanding, and promote the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge in matters involving science, engineering, technology, and health.


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