Reducing friction and wear in engines and drivetrains is one of several approaches that will
enable the Office of Heavy Vehicle Technologies (OHVT) within the Office of Transportation
Technologies (OTT) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to meet its goal of fostering the
development of fuel-flexible, energy-efficient, heavy-duty U.S. diesel engine technology.
Implementation of the planned friction-reducing technologies, along with complementary
approaches such as improving truck aerodynamics and reducing running resistance, will reduce
petroleum consumption of Class 1-8 trucks by more than 1.8 million barrels of oil per day by
2030. In addition, there will be 7 to 30% reductions in PM10 emissions, CO
, nonmethane hydrocarbons (NMHCs), and CO. Economic benefits will include an increase
of 15,000 jobs and $24 billion in GDP.
Proper attention to friction and wear could save the U.S. economy as much as $120 billion per
year. In the transportation sector alone, land-based vehicles consume gasoline and diesel fuel
equivalent to about 3.4 billion barrels of crude oil per year, of which 650 to 830 million barrels
are lost to friction. At the current price of crude oil, that amounts to $12 to $15 billion per year.
This document outlines a research program that was recommended by representatives from all
sectors of the ground transportation industry, including fleet operators, truck and automobile
manufacturers, diesel-engine manufacturers, component manufacturers, lubricant suppliers,
railroad operators, and locomotive manufacturers. Their input was obtained through personal
interviews and a plenary workshop that was held at Argonne National Laboratory on March 22-
23, 1999, under the auspices of DOE's Heavy Vehicle Systems Technologies (HVST) program
The primary benefits to be derived from implementing the technologies in this planned program
are energy savings and reduced operating costs for heavy-duty fleet operators and individual
owner operators. However, reducing fuel consumption also will have a directly proportional
benefit on reducing emissions from vehicles. In addition, new technologies for reducing friction
and wear also are needed to enable the trucking industry to meet forthcoming standards for diesel
exhaust emissions. Still other benefits include reduced downtime, lower costs for repair and
replacement of worn parts, and improved safety.
Friction, wear, and lubrication are important considerations in virtually every approach to
reducing energy consumption and emissions, as described in the OHVT Technology roadmap.
Following are some examples:
To develop enabling technologies for Class 7 & 8 trucks to achieve a fuel efficiency of 10
mpg without sacrificing air quality will require the following:
To develop a 55% efficient engine, an efficiency increase of 1% or greater is expected
from reductions in engine mechanical friction, and increased cylinder pressures will
require improved friction control and piston/ring lubrication.