Fuel costs are a significant portion of transit agency budgets. Hybrid technology offers an attractive option and has the potential to significantly reduce operating costs for agencies. The main impetus behind use of hybrid transit vehicles is fuel savings and reduced emissions. Laboratory tests have indicated that hybrid transit buses can have significantly higher fuel economy and lower emissions compared to conventional transit buses. However, the number of studies is limited and laboratory tests may not represent actual driving conditions since in-use vehicle operation differs from laboratory test cycles. Several initial studies have suggested that the fuel economy savings reported in laboratory tests may not be realized on-road. The objective of the project described in this paper was to evaluate the in-use fuel economy differences between hybrid-electric and conventional transit buses for the Ames, Iowa (USA) transit authority. On-road fuel economy was evaluated over a 12-month period for 12 hybrid and 7 control transit buses. Fuel economy comparisons were also provided for several older in-use bus types. Buses other than the control and hybrid buses were grouped by model year corresponding to US diesel emission standards. Average fuel economy in miles per gallon was calculated for each bus group overall and by season. Hybrid buses had the highest fuel economy for all time periods for all bus types. Hybrid buses had a fuel economy that was 11.8% higher than control buses overall and was 12.2% higher than buses with model years 2007 and higher, 23.4% higher than model years 2004 to 2006, 10.2% higher than model years 1998 to 2003, 38.1% higher than for model years 1994 to 1997, 36.8% higher for model years 1991 to 1993, and 36.8% higher for model years pre-1991. Differences between groups of buses also varied by season of the year.
Cite this paper
Hallmark, S. , Wang, B. , Qiu, Y. and Sperry, R. (2013) Evaluation of In-Use Fuel Economy for Hybrid and Regular Transit Buses. Journal of Transportation Technologies
, 52-57. doi: 10.4236/jtts.2013.31006
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