Poll: 64% of UK Motorists Put Fuel Economy as Top Consideration For New Car
Seattle Mayor Introduces City’s First PHEV

Mercedes-Benz Actros Takes Guinness Record For Most-Efficient Series-Production Truck

The Mercedes-Benz Actros trailer/tractor combination has entered the Guinness World Records as the most fuel-efficient 40-tonne truck, with fuel consumption of 19.44 liters of diesel per 100 km— the equivalent less than 0.8 liters per hundred tonne-kilometers (tkm)—during a test drive of more than 12,728 kilometers.

The consumption was determined during a seven-day round-the-clock test drive, with a standard-specification Actros hauling more than 25 tonnes of payload at an average speed of 80 kph around a test course in Nardo, Italy.

The Actros also reduces CO2 emissions to 20.5 grams per tonne of payload and kilometer (g/tkm). By comparison, a theoretical "one-liter car" would produce 53 g/tkm. Today’s hybrid passenger cars produce 297 g/tkm of CO2. Even in normal traffic, the 40-tonne trailer/tractor combination performs significantly better, boasting fuel consumption figures between 30 and 35 liters, and 30 to 37 g/tkm of CO2.

The fuel consumption test for the new Mercedes-Benz Actros was monitored by DEKRA (the German automotive inspection agency) under ideal conditions at the test site in Nardo.

The fuel consumption test in Nardo also illustrates what factors increase fuel consumption on the road: inadequate traffic infrastructure and a lack of traffic management, incorrect vehicle configuration, inadequate vehicle maintenance and actual driving style. The measurements in Nardo confirmed the figures from the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), according to which the instantaneous fuel consumption of a 40-tonne trailer/tractor combination can triple if the vehicle is forced to stop twice every kilometer, instead of travelling unimpeded at 50 kph.

Correct vehicle configuration can also influence fuel consumption. Failure to order additional aerodynamic equipment when purchasing the vehicle can see fuel consumption increase by 10%, according to Daimler. Correctly adjusting the wind deflectors on the cab can on its own improve fuel consumption by up to 4%.

Even apparently minor details such as incorrectly tightened or flapping tarpaulins will inexorably push up diesel consumption. By contrast, the aerodynamic A-pillar panelling available ex-factory for the new Mercedes-Benz Actros at no extra cost can reduce fuel consumption by one percent.

The same applies to tires. Mercedes-Benz offers Super-wide tires for its trucks instead of the twin tires on the rear axle. Potential fuel savings of up to 2% have been measured in tests. Insufficient tire pressure can increase fuel consumption by up to 8%. Around 30% of all trucks on the road have insufficient tire pressure.

The test drives with the Mercedes-Benz Actros showed that under optimum conditions the vehicle technology accounts for just about 60% of the fuel consumed by a 40-tonne trailer/trailer combination. Traffic conditions, topography, vehicle configuration and maintenance make up the various factors in the remaining 40% or so, i.e. between 10 and 15 liters per 100 kilometers. Traffic planners, dispatchers, fleet decision-makers and drivers can influence many of these parameters.



Can somewhat translate the various figures in this interesting report into miles per gallon, etc., for American readers? How does this vehicle compare to similar trucks used in the United States?


Divide L/100km into 282.5 or 282.4859 for greater accuracy (and vice versa). In this case 19.44L/100km equals approx. 14.53 (Imperial) MPG.

This is an excellent result albeit on a fast, smooth and banked test track: we see 7.5-9.5MPG (Imperial) in our day to day work with hauliers in Ireland and UK.


I wonder what the mpg would have been if test had not been conducted under unrealistically ideal conditions for high mpg.


For US mpg 100 km = 62.5 miles and 3.95 liters = 1 US Gallon. So, the truck gets 19.44 liters per 62.5 miles. Divide 19.44 by 3.95 and you are using 4.92 gallons for 62.5 miles. Divide 62.5 by 4.92 and you get 12.7 miles per gallon, which is phenomenal. A friend of mine who is a truck driver just told me that 7.5 mpg is considered very good these days and 5 or less is considered normal. I don't know the gram/km conversion and since I have never seen that number used in the US, I don't see the point in converting it. It's not like we're familiar with that number like we are with MPG. I know that for cars in Europe 100g/km (this is about the number for the VW Polo BlueMotion and Toyota Prius) is considered excellent and 130-140 is quite good. For reference, here are some numbers off of Audi's French website: According to Audi's French website the A6 2.0TDI gets 160 g/km. An Audi A3 2.0 turbo gas, which we can buy in the US is listed as 184 g/km in France. An A3 2.0TDI (similar to a Jetta) is listed as 146 g/km. They don't give the per ton number, you'd have to see how much the car weighs, plus passengers and cargo and go from there.

I came up with a figure of 11.67 mpg(US). That is 85.68 gal/1000 miles or roughly 4300 gal/yr. At 5 mpg a rig uses about 10,000 gal/yr. That is a difference of 6700 gal/yr which is 18 times as much gas as I use per year.

Harvey D

Considering that the current USA cargo efficiency (i.e. tons/mile with one gallon of fuel) is:

1) Electric Rail = 1000 tons/mile (equivalent)
2) Diesel Rail = 406 tons/mile
3) Trucks = 150 tons/mile
4) Air = 5 tons/mile

this Mercedes truck, at about 317 tons/mile, is twice as efficient as the USA heavy truck fleet and almost as good as US diesel rail.

Does this mean that the existing truck fleet should be phased out and replaced with Mercedes trucks? The impact on oil import and GHG would be significant.


Wonder what the MPG would be on the EPA test cycle? Sounds stunningly excellent tho. Still, I want an EV once the batteries just give a bit more range...say, 200miles without carrying the vehicle's cargo weight in batteries. Good reliability too.


At the rate diesel prices are rising, the shipping companies that can obtain this truck will survive, and others will go out of business.


Sure is great. No traffic, smooth road surface, optimized tires, AND only 49 Miles/Hour! On I10 near El Paso, trucks have a posted limit of nearly double the Mercedes idealized test drive.

Take this same Mercedes and run it from Billings, MT to Stockton,CA and see what real mileage would be achieved.

Point well made, however, that a lot of smaller items can make a big difference when taken together.

Drivers, especially "independents", b**ch about fuel prices, and are some of the biggest fuel wasters around. Like they all grew up during the oil boom in Texas or something. Nothing really bad about the drivers, though.... they drive pretty much like most Texans around here. Risky and ignorant of factors affecting fuel mileage.
"Don't care wasters" I call them.

Round Rock, Texas


The equivalent in US units:
19.44 liters of diesel per 100 km is equal to:
12.0998 miles per US gallon of diesel.


@ Harvey D.
do you have tons/mile per gallon of fuel FIGURES for these ? :
Boeing 787 (cargo)
best turbo-prop plane available
big vessel (for containers)

The comments to this entry are closed.