Super Street Network

 |   |   |  Roof Racks Waste 100 Million Gallons of Gas Nationwide
Subscribe to the Free
Newsletter

Roof Racks Waste 100 Million Gallons of Gas Nationwide

National study turns to crowdsourcing for data

Erick Ayapana
Apr 28, 2016

Anyone with an active lifestyle will likely own a vehicle with roof racks prepped to carry bicycles, cargo boxes, and other outdoor toys. There have been numerous reports regarding the negative effects roof racks have on fuel economy, but a recently study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory claims roof racks were responsible for the consumption of around 100 million gallons of fuel in the U.S. last year.

The Berkeley Lab says its study was the first to extensively look at the national impact of automotive roof racks, which often hurt fuel economy due to additional aerodynamic drag. It estimates that roof racks can reduce fuel economy on vehicles by 0 to 25 percent depending on the racks' configuration and if they are loaded or not. Based on that estimate, the researchers claim roof racks were responsible for 0.8 percent of light-duty fuel consumption in the U.S. last year, or approximately 100 million gallons of gas.

2015 Subaru WRX STI Launch Edition side profile Photo 2/10   |   2015 Subaru WRX STI Launch Edition side profile

To collect data, researchers surveyed users in online forums. Next, they utilized the crowdsourcing website Amazon Mechanical Turk to hire workers who were assigned to highways nationwide to conduct video surveys of vehicles equipped with roof racks.

The researchers found that roof rack usage is increasing and should continue to grow by an additional 200 percent by 2040. The study also discovered that vehicles with unloaded racks traveled four to eight times as many miles as those with loaded racks.

2015 Subaru WRX STI Launch Edition Thule box Photo 6/10   |   Roof Racks Waste 100 Million Gallons of Gas Nationwide

Researchers note that a number of behavioral, policy, and technology changes could lessen the impact roof racks have on fuel economy. Owners, for example, are encouraged to remove racks when not in use, while legislators should consider "energy labeling" requirements to better inform consumers. Finally, automakers could develop technology to make racks more user-friendly and aerodynamic.

Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

2015 Subaru WRX STI Launch Edition Thule rack Photo 7/10   |   Roof Racks Waste 100 Million Gallons of Gas Nationwide
By Erick Ayapana
108 Articles

BROWSE CARS BY MARKET

MORE FEATURES

One of the sexiest S-chassis builds we've ever seen come out of Japan.
David IshikawaDec 9, 2017
Fashionistas and hype beasts beware, your favorite video game is teaming up with a few of your favorite streetwear brands.
Sam DuDec 9, 2017
Class wins at the Motive DVD Drag Battle & Nulon Nationals don't come easy, and breaking records can take years; BYP Racing took 28 days to do both
Alex GrantDec 8, 2017
BMW plans to launch 26 M and M-Performance models through the end of 2020, according to a new report.
Kelly PleskotDec 8, 2017
What began with a college budget and an RSX loaded with replica parts has transformed into a widebodied, RHD, turbocharged beast
Micah WrightDec 7, 2017
Sponsored Links

SEARCH ARTICLES BY MAKE/MODEL

Search
CLOSE X
BUYER'S GUIDE
SEE THE ALL NEW
NEWS, REVIEWS & SPECS
TO TOP