Video: Autonomous Cars Cut Congestion, Top U.S. Cities for Energy-efficiency, Plug-in Truck Stop Saves Fuel

15 May 2017

A few self-driving cars on the road can help beat stop-and-go traffic. Does your city rank as one of America’s most energy efficient? We’ll show you the top ten. And truckers can now plug in for the night at a North Carolina rest area.

Easing Traffic Congestion

Adding just a few self-driving cars to the road can make a difference in stop-and-go traffic, according to recent experiments funded by the National Science Foundation's Cyber-Physical Systems program. Experiments show that with as few as 5 percent of vehicles being automated and carefully controlled, stop-and-go waves caused by human driving behavior can be eliminated. Tucson, Arizona, was the site for the tests in which an autonomous vehicle continuously circled a track along with 20 human-operated cars. The simple addition of the one autonomous car keeping a controlled pace was responsible for smoothing traffic flow and avoiding “phantom traffic jams,” a phenomenon where human drivers cause stop-and-go traffic.

Top Cities for Energy Efficiency

A new report says that cities are stepping up efforts to reduce energy waste. More mayors and local lawmakers in America's largest cities are turning to energy efficiency to reduce energy costs for consumers and businesses. The City Energy Efficiency Scorecard, released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, finds that Boston remains the top US city for energy efficiency, receiving 84.5 out of a possible 100 points. Following Boston, the top 10 US cities for energy efficiency are New York City, Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland, Austin, Chicago, Washington, DC, Denver, and San Francisco.

Saving Fuel at a Plug-in Truck Stop

More than 25,000 gallons of truck fuel is projected to be saved annually as part of a Duke Energy project to electrify a North Carolina truck stop. Big Boy's Truck Stop, in Kenly, North Carolina, will soon have 24 truck electrification stations where drivers can pay to plug in and avoid idling engines. Additionally, four plugs will provide standby power for refrigerated cargo to avoid the need to run diesel compressors. Each year, more than 2 billion gallons of diesel is wasted by overnight idling, according to an Energy Department laboratory. Idling is the industry standard method of providing overnight comfort to the more than 1 million drivers who sleep in their trucks each night.

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