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60013-1 Report Abstract

Updated Fuel Consumption Estimates for Benefit-Cost Analysis of Transportation Alternatives

Frida Saad and William F. McFarland, Texas A&M University, August 1994, 352 pp

Extensive research has been completed on the fuel efficiency of different types of vehicles, but this information is either out-of-date or scattered in many sources and available in different formats. Much of the more recent data are not in the correct format for use in economic and energy studies of transportation alternatives. The procedure generally used to estimate fuel consumption in benefit-cost manuals and computer programs is to use standard tables that show the energy consumption for various speed changes, stops, and travel at uniform speeds. A different approach has been developed for estimating energy consumption for different types of vehicles, based partially on automotive engineering models of vehicle fuel consumption as related to vehicle characteristics, speeds, and roadway profiles. This new approach has been used extensively by vehicle manufacturers and in Australia and Canada. This approach simulated vehicles of different types traveling in specified highway and traffic situations, and has been shown to be much more flexible and less expensive to use in updating than the methods that have been used in the past. In this research study, the ARFCOM computer program was used to develop an improved fuel consumption data set representing typical vehicles currently operating on highways in the U.S.A. Using this data set updated statistical equations for the MicroBENCOST computer program were developed. These new equations were used in the MicroBENCOST computer program with example problems to demonstrate the use of the data set.

Keywords: Fuel Consumption, Vehicle Operating Costs, User Costs, Benefit-Cost Analysis, Evaluation of Transportation Alternatives, Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

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Reference Report #60013-1