Of growing concern to Dutch and European policy-makers is the fast-rising number of vans and light trucks on the roads and the growing number of casualties and emissions due to these vehicles. As fleet operators face relatively high costs with this type of vehicle (fuel, maintenance, accidents), engine speed limiters may be one way of helping drivers adopt a more fuel-efficient and safer driving style.
At the request of the Netherlands Agency for Energy and the Environment, Novem, a large-scale practical trial with speed limiters was organised, in which sixteen companies operating a total of 177 vans and 30 trucks in the 3.5 – 12 tonne category participated for a period of one year. The impacts of speed limiters on fuel consumption, vehicle maintenance, accident damages and speeding tickets were monitored. The experiences of drivers and fleet operators were also assessed.
The following main results and conclusions emerged:
Based on these results, purely in terms of fuel savings the break-even point for fleet operators of a retrofitted speed limiter (costing about 700 euro) is about 170,000 km. For an ex-works programmed maximum engine speed (costing about 0-100 euro) this is about 25,000 km. If the anticipated benefits vis-à-vis damages and maintenance are also included, these figures will be lower.
Besides the above findings, the report also provides leverage for policy-makers as well as suggestions as to how operators can successfully implement engine speed limiters.