Front Cover
 Back Cover

Title: Energy conservation in agricultural transportation
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00084344/00001
 Material Information
Title: Energy conservation in agricultural transportation
Series Title: Energy conservation in agricultural transportation
Physical Description: Book
Creator: Fluck, Richard C.
Publisher: Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00084344
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 228030311

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Back Cover
        Page 9
Full Text


Circular 616

Energy Conservation in

Agricultural Transportation

Richard C. Fluck

oc c

-, -- BA .

i' i .. -| "'

a Is

I I Ij
3:-\ ." "


Pine U?' o2

Florida Cooperativa Extension Service / In lu ebt Food.ilrid Agricultural
- nces / University of Florida, Gainesville / hn T. Woeste, Dean for'Ext Asidr 9

,_S U n.....
,I .... ... ;' p~~e ..l... TL ;TIV
... ,, L _'I', ,--



Richard C. Fluck*


Energy is essential for transportation for modern agri-

culture. Energy is required for moving inputs to the farm

from their points of origin, for moving labor to and on the

farm, and for moving farm products to market. Further, farm

management requires transportation, and consumers must travel

to buy food and other farm products. Agricultural production

is specialized by commodity and geographic region, and farm-

ers are dispersed and distant from mar kets, contributing fur-

ther to tran sportation needs.

Total quantities of materials transported are consider-

able. Agriculturally-related transportation in the U. S. in

1975 was 63 million tons of agricultural inputs, 310 million

tons of agricultural products on and between farms, and 506

million tons of products from farms to market. The total

materials transported for food supply amounted to over 22

pounds per capital daily, as compared with food consumption

of less than 4 pounds per capital daily.

* Professor, Agricultural Engineering Department, IFAS,

University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611.

How important is energy for transportation? About one

fourth of total U. S. energy consumption, or about 18 Quads

annually (: Qu. ad is a .Quadrilli on Btu. or 1!;, 000,000,000,000,

000 Btu) is used for transportat i on. Moreover, transporta-

tion consumes over one half our liquid fuels.

How important is energy for agriculture and the rest of

the food chain? The food chain consumes .,bout 12 Quads of

energy annually. About 13% of that amount, or about 1.6

Quads annually, is used in transportation. Table 1 accounts

for about 0.77 Quads; the remainder is used by consumers

driving to supermarkets, restaurants, etc. Note the impor-

tance of trucks and the importance of on-farm transportation

(air transport, relatively minor for agriculture, is omitted

from Table 1).

Table 1. Energy consumption for U. S. agricultural and
food transportation, quads per year

Pipeline Truck Rail Water
----- ----- ------------------------"""' "'~'~"~ "'""'" -I~I"~'--~--- ~ ~ ~ --~-----' --------- -- -
Transportation of
inputs to farm 0.0003 0.0608 0.0016 0.0067
transportation 0 0.2835 0 0
Transportation of
farm products 0 0.1470 0.0385 0.0061
Transportation of
processed foods 0 0.1361 0.0372 0.0018

Total 0.0003 0.6274 0.0918 0.0146

An examination of how trucks consume energy in moving

materials will help in understanding the importance and com-

plexity of the energy connection. Table 2 shows not only the

direct energy input for fuel but also the indirect energy

inputs required for providing the other items necessary for

operating a tractor-trailer truck.

Table 2. Energy requirements for trucks

Item Btu/ton mile % Total

Fuel 1702 76
Taxes and licenses (supports 166 7
roads maintenance, construction)
Depreciation 138 6
Tires and tubes 69 3
Repairs and services 83 4
Insurance and safety 42 2
Other 55 2

Total 2256

In general there are three areas of energy consumption

associated with any mode of transportation: the energy con--

tent of fuel and associated fuel production energy, energy to

construct andc maintain the vehicle, and energy to provide

the roadways for the vehicle to carry out its journey. Table

2 includes the first two areas for trucks, the most important

mode of transport for the food chain. Table 2 also shows an

important measure of the energy efficiency of transport modes,

energy intensiveness, measured in Btu/ton mile.

Energy intensiveness varies greatly with mode of trans-

portation. Table 3 shows typical values for different modes

of transportation.

Table 3. Energy intensiveness of various modes of freight
t ransportat i on

Energy intensiveness, Btu/ton mile
Mode ---------------------------------------
Range Average

Ai r 11,000-70,000 12,000
Truck 690-6200 2,500
Rai 1 275-1400 800
Water 70--2000 470
Pipel i ne 275-4200

Modal shifts, i.e., from air to truck, can conserve

energy. Doing so, however, may also introduce penalties

and/or produce advantages other than energy conservation.

One such shift, from truck to rail, has been widely promoted.

Limitations to offset energy savings with this modal shift

may include rail car inavailability, poor railroad condition,

increased fresh produce losses, increased delivery time, and

scheduling inflexibility.

Transportation energy conservation practices which may be

considered by managers within the food chain, from farmer to

consumer, are many. They fall into three categories: tech-

nology, management practices, and institutional changes.

Technology for Reducing Transportation Energy

1. Intermodal systems

a. Trailer on flat car (TOFC, piggyback). Recent DOE

tests resulted in 2630 Btu/ton mile for truck compared

with 1175 Btu/ton mile for TOFC.

b. Containerized freight (containers on rail flat cars

and on ships or barges).

c. Railroaders (proposed system with vans with dual axle

highway and single axle rail wheels which could be

connected in a "train" for rail use or used singly

with a tractor gn the highway). Fuel mileage was

found to be 19 mpg on rails versus 5 to 7 mpg for

conventional trucks.

2. Semi-truck technology

a. Aerodynamic aids, including air deflectors on cabs,

gap-filling devices between tractor and trailer, etc.

Potential fuel savings are 3-8%; however, one aero-

dynamic engineer has stated that a $2-5000 investment

in aerodynamic aids such as the following would reduce

fuel use by one-third.

1. Front cab and gap streamlining

2. Trailer construction utilizing interior posts and

horizontal corrugations

3,, Skirts on sides of truck

4. Streamlined "boattail" rear

5. Solid bottom plate

b. Temperature-actuated cooling fans save about 3% of


c. Radial ply tires save from 3 to 12% of fuel

d. Fuel economy engines may save as much as 20% of fuel.

The following should be considered:

1. Switch from gasoline to Diesel

2. Turbocharging

3. Intercooling or aftercooling in conjunction with


4. Idle timers to permit shutting off the engine after

cool down without unnecessary idling

5. Speed control through governors or other devices.

e. Synthetic oil, fuel-saving conventional oils and

multigrade gear oil can reduce friction and save


f. Multiple trailers may save 5% for double bottoms and

28% for triple bottoms

The fuel efficiency of loaded semi-trailer trucks has

increased to 5.9 mpg from 3.5 to 5 mpg over the past 10


3. Railroad technology

a. Aluminum rail cars may save 15%

b. Wheel bearing seals may save 6%

c. Diesel exhaust waste heat recovery may save 8%

d. Rail-wheel adhesion improvements may save 5%.

4. Pipelines may be used for solids in addition to fluids.

a. Solids in a slurry, i.e., coal slurry

b. "Tubexpress" is a proposed grain pipeline system using

wheeled capsules filled with grain moved in a pipeline

by air pressure. Requires two pipelines, one of which

returns empty capsules. Lower energy requirements

than rail are claimed.

Management Practices to Conserve Energy

1. Selection of optimum speed. Energy consumption varies

with speed, typically decreasing to a minimum as speed is

increased above zero, then increasing with -further

increases in speed. Semi-trucks typically require 2% more

fuel for each mile per hour above 55.

2. Selection of vehicle.

a. In purchasing a vehicle, consider fuel consumption and

size as well as other characteristics.

b. In choosing a vehicle for a particular use from among

available vehicles, consider fuel consumption.

3. Substitution of communications for transportation. Make

a telephone call rather than a trip, if it's information

you need. Use two-way radio. Advances in communications

and information technology make some transportation


4. Route optimization

a. Select the most fuel-efficient route (not necessarily

the shortest route) between your origin and destina-


b. With multiple destinations, select the most fuel-

efficient route and ordering of stops.

5. Vehicle loading. Load your vehicle as near to capacity

as possible; this results in minimum energy intensiveness

or maximum fuel efficiency per unit of payload.

6 ... oad con t ro::l Use higher an .al ysi s fertilizers remove

moistu. rte from commodities, and process on- -farm or earlier

in the food chain to: minimi:.::e the total load to be trans-

ported ,. whene' river pos::! a : i ie: e.

:[::ins. t..utional ChIanges to Conserve Energy

Ind ii:i. v:idu i..ials might wior k with o there ind : i vi duals or groups or

work rwi:i.'thi.n the political process to malke changes in slome: of

the folllow.':i ng areas.:,

1.. U:ni form st r:.rictions among states for truck loads and

di mensi ons..

2. De:regulat:ion or liberalizing of truck load and dimension

li mi ts.

3. Better roaads roads which are straighter, shorter, and

have lower slopes, better surfaces, and require fewer

starts and stop::s; wi ll save fuel.

4. Reduction of crossca haul:i ng. Whenever cooperation between

persons results in agreements to trade similar or identi-

cal products rather than each hauling their products in

opposite directions, fuel savings will result.

5. Production of crops and livestock nearer to population

centers will reduce transportation requirements and fuel


This public document was promulgated at a cost of $223.57, or 44.7 cents per copy, to provide information on energy
conservation in agricultural transportation. 12-500-84

SCIENCES, K. R. Tefertller, director, In cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture, publishes this Infor-
mation to further the purpose of the May 8 and June 30,1914 Acts of Congress;and Is authorized to provide research, educa- IF
tional Information and other services only to Individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex or
national origin. Single copies of Extension publications (excluding 4-H and Youth publications) are available free to Florida
residents from County Extension Offices. Information on bulk rates or copies for out-of-state purchasers Is available from
C. M. HInton, Publications Distribution Center, IFAS Building 664, University of Florida, Galnesville, Florida 32611. Before publicizing this
publication, editors should contact this address to determine availability.


University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs