Why be energy efficient?

Fuel is typically the highest operating cost for road transport operators, followed by wages, then tyres. The sector operates in a very competitive business environment1 so small improvements in fuel efficiency or changes in fuel costs can have a significant impact on profit and competitiveness. There are numerous opportunities for the road transport sector to improve energy efficiency through upgrading fleets, and adopting better corporate, driver and fuel-consumption practices.

Combining best practices can lead to fuel savings ranging from 10% to 30%.2


Three strategies cover most of the energy-efficiency opportunities available for the road transport sector.

See all opportunities in Road transport

Case studies

Key resources

  • EEO Opportunities Register 2014 (Opens in a new window)
    • Department of Industry and Science

    This resource is a register of ‘significant opportunities’ identified by corporations as part of the Australian Government’s Energy Efficiency Opportunities (EEO) program. The register provides energy efficiency ideas that may be useful for other organisations looking to improve their energy productivity.

  • Transport Energy Futures Program 2013
    • US Department of Energy

    The US Department of Energy’s Transport Energy Futures (TEF) program examines how combining multiple strategies could reduce both GHG emissions and diesel use by 80%. The project breaks down transport knowledge into four areas: light duty transport, non-light duty, fuels, and demand and covers everything from transport technologies to the broader marketplace, consumer behaviour, innovation and industry capacity.

  • Green Truck Partnership 2012
    • NSW Roads and Maritime Services

    The Green Truck Partnership is an alliance between NSW Roads and Maritime Services and the road transport industry. The Green Truck Partnership commissions independent testing of products that claim to improve the environmental performance on heavy vehicles and publishes the results.

    Recent tests conducted through the program have focussed on biodiesel, lift trailer axles, CNG, LNG and automatic gearbox technology. Case studies on the findings of these tests are available on the Green Truck Partnership website.  They can also be found on the Resources – Road Transport page on the EEX website.

  • Fuel for Thought - Potential energy efficiency opportunities in the Australian road and rail sectors 2011

    This report catalogues potential opportunities for energy efficiency improvements in the Australian road transport (heavy duty vehicles only) and rail transport sectors. It was designed to supplement energy efficiency assessments undertaken by transport operators involved in the Energy Efficiency Opportunities program.

  • SmartWay Freight Transport Publications 2011 (Opens in a new window)
    • US Environmental Protection Authority
    • Website

    SmartWay is the US Environmental Protection Agency’s flagship program for improving fuel efficiency and reducing greenhouse gases from the transportation supply chain industry. The website includes a range of information, tools and guidance on the application of fuel efficiency opportunities in the United States.

  • Truck Buyers Guide 2011
    • Department of Infrastructure and Transport

    The Truck Buyers Guide is a joint Victorian, NSW and Australian Government initiative to promote the uptake of low-emission small trucks.

  • Energy Efficiency and Alternative Transport Fuels - Trucking 2007 (Opens in a new window)
    • The Natural Edge Project, CSIRO and Griffith University
    • PDF 1.2 MB

    This lecture module (8.3), developed as part of the CSIRO Energy Transformed Flagship has an engineering focus and outlines energy efficiency opportunities and emissions reductions approaches for the trucking sector.