In-use activity, fuel use, and emissions of heavy-duty diesel roll-off refuse trucks

Gurdas S. Sandhu, H. Christopher Frey, Shannon Bartelt-Hunt, Elizabeth Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The objectives of this study were to quantify real-world activity, fuel use, and emissions for heavy duty diesel roll-off refuse trucks; evaluate the contribution of duty cycles and emissions controls to variability in cycle average fuel use and emission rates; quantify the effect of vehicle weight on fuel use and emission rates; and compare empirical cycle average emission rates with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s MOVES emission factor model predictions. Measurements were made at 1 Hz on six trucks of model years 2005 to 2012, using onboard systems. The trucks traveled 870 miles, had an average speed of 16 mph, and collected 165 tons of trash. The average fuel economy was 4.4 mpg, which is approximately twice previously reported values for residential trash collection trucks. On average, 50% of time is spent idling and about 58% of emissions occur in urban areas. Newer trucks with selective catalytic reduction and diesel particulate filter had NOx and PM cycle average emission rates that were 80% lower and 95% lower, respectively, compared to older trucks without. On average, the combined can and trash weight was about 55% of chassis weight. The marginal effect of vehicle weight on fuel use and emissions is highest at low loads and decreases as load increases. Among 36 cycle average rates (6 trucks × 6 cycles), MOVES-predicted values and estimates based on real-world data have similar relative trends. MOVES-predicted CO2 emissions are similar to those of the real world, while NOx and PM emissions are, on average, 43% lower and 300% higher, respectively. The real-world data presented here can be used to estimate benefits of replacing old trucks with new trucks. Further, the data can be used to improve emission inventories and model predictions. Implications: In-use measurements of the real-world activity, fuel use, and emissions of heavy-duty diesel roll-off refuse trucks can be used to improve the accuracy of predictive models, such as MOVES, and emissions inventories. Further, the activity data from this study can be used to generate more representative duty cycles for more accurate chassis dynamometer testing. Comparisons of old and new model year diesel trucks are useful in analyzing the effect of fleet turnover. The analysis of effect of haul weight on fuel use can be used by fleet managers to optimize operations to reduce fuel cost.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-323
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of the Air and Waste Management Association
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Atmospheric Science


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