Freight ton efficiency – or FTE for short – is an indication of how effectively energy is being used to transport cargo from A to B.

It’s calculated by multiplying the mass of goods being moved [in US tons] by the truck’s fuel economy [in US mpg] to create a ton-miles per gallon metric. The higher the FTE measurement, the better.

Because carbon dioxide emissions are directly related to the mass of fuel consumed, FTE also offers a crucial window on the CO2-intensity of a driver’s work. High FTE values indicate a low CO2 intensity.

Trucks exist to transport goods. Let’s consider two trucks with fuel economies of 10, and 7 mpg. One appears to be more fuel-efficient than the other. But if the 10 mpg truck was carrying 1 ton of goods, and the 7 mpg truck had a cargo of 20 tons, the picture changes completely.

Figure 3. Why freight ton matters from Why Embrace Freight Ton Efficiency? White paper, March 2020.

Figure 3, Why freight ton matters from Why Embrace Freight Ton Efficiency? White Paper, March 2020

As the mass of cargo increases, a truck’s fuel economy – expressed in mpg – reduces. But its FTE and carbon intensity will both improve.

It follows that, from an overall energy efficiency perspective, it’s always better to maximize loading, and minimize the number of trucks used. FTE as the central metric for fleet operation drives this operational strategy.

Freight ton efficiency is an essential freight transport metric because it stimulates the load-maximising behaviours required to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions

Megan Pino, Shell Rotella Global Manager

Even if saving money on fuel isn’t a top priority, the direct link between fuel consumption and CO2 emissions means manufacturers and end-users alike are increasingly taking advantage of the fuel-economy benefits delivered by low friction, fuel efficient, engine oils – a trend Shell expects to keep growing.

Drawing together all of the emerging energy-focused vehicle, engine, transmission and lubricant developments – and combining them with the high-loaded and conscientious driving style motivated by freight ton efficiency will lead to dramatic improvements in energy and CO2 intensity.

Version 1.0 of Shell’s Starship truck, launched in 2018, achieved 178 ton-miles per gallon – a spectacular 2.48 times improvement oil over the current US average value… What will version 2.0 achieve?

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