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The Influence of Weight. Freight-ton miles per heavy-duty diesel truck Average model weight of light-duty gas vehicles and trucks By Natalie Zaczek. Freight-Ton Miles. Amount of freight being transported has increased steadily every year

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the influence of weight

The Influence of Weight

Freight-ton miles per heavy-duty diesel truck

Average model weight of light-duty gas vehicles and trucks

By Natalie Zaczek

freight ton miles
Freight-Ton Miles
  • Amount of freight being transported has increased steadily every year
  • There is an increasing demand for freight transportation
  • The plateau in total freight, but increase in freight-miles means that less freight per haul. (There is a steady increase of length of haul, so there is not a decrease in the distance freight travels)
freight person


  • There was a rapid decrease until 1980 (when the freight/person was flat)
  • Peak mid-1990s
  • Decreases from mid-1990’s-2001
  • There was a dramatic increase from 1980-mid1990s
  • Peak in mid-1990’s
  • Decreases from mid-1990’s-2001
light duty gas weight trends for the model year

Light-Duty Gas Weight Trends for the Model Year

-Vehicles and trucks weighed the same in 1975

-Rapid decline in weight from 1975-1980

-Weights constant from 1980-1990s

-Weight increase from the 1990s to current

  • 1975-1980 a rapid increase in fuel economy and a rapid decline in weight
  • 1980-2002 a slight decrease in fuel economy and a large increase in weight
weight increase and decrease
Weight Increase and Decrease
  • Influence on weight decrease(1975-late 1980’s)
    • CAFÉ
      • Govt. policy to increase fuel efficiency in 1975
    • FMVSS
      • no safety changes from 1974 -1986
  • Influence on weight increase(late 1980’s – 2004)
    • FMVSS
      • Increase in weight of safety equipment
    • Technology
      • Used to increase weight and acceleration
fmvss federal motor vehicle safety standards
FMVSSFederal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards
  • Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS)
    • Reverse engineering to find out how much weight was going towards safety
    • Safety includes avoiding crashes, fires, and other hazards, and regulating crashes.
    • Weight in passenger cars changed little from 1974-1986 because no new FMVSS changes
    • Many safety technologies in cars later than in light trucks
    • There is an increase in safety weight from 1990-2000 and there is also an increase in the average weight per model year during the same time
technology change weight gain

Technology Change = Weight Gain

Technology goes to increase weight and acceleration, not fuel economy

Weight increased 21%

Horsepower increased 79%

ton gallons per mile
Ton-Gallons per Mile
  • Ton-Gallons is the gallons per mile times the weight in tons (fuel economy)
  • Tells ability to move weight
  • Graph shows an initial sharp decrease, then a plateau from about 1980 to 2002
why did the ton gallons per mile plateau while the weight increased
Why did the ton-gallons per mile plateau while the weight increased?
  • There are many factors that affect fuel economy:
    • Weight
    • Technology

If the 2000 model year light vehicle had the same performance and weight as the 1981 model year, there would have been a 25% higher fuel efficiency.

conclusions on weight
Conclusions on Weight
  • Weight affects fuel economy
  • More freight is being circulated via trucks in 2002 compared to 1975. This means that more weight is being transported.
  • Weight declined, but then start to increase again all while the fuel economy also increased. This indicates that there are other factors involved in the fuel efficiency such as technology.
  • Once technology has reached a plateau, changes in weight may affect changes in fuel economy more.