Comparing real-world fuel consumption for diesel- and hydrogen-fueled transit buses and implication for emissions

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - vehicle, mode - bus


Vehicle exhaust, United States, Transit buses, Trade off analysis, Speed, Portugal, Pollutants, Hydrogen fuels, Highway grades, Grades (Roads), Fuel consumption, Fuel cell vehicles, Exhaust gases, Exhaust emissions, Emissions, Diesel buses, Comparison studies, Automobile exhaust, Alternatives analysis, Acceleration (Mechanics)


This paper explores the influence of key factors such as speed, acceleration, and road grade on fuel consumption for diesel and hydrogen fuel cell buses under real-world operating conditions. A Vehicle Specific Power-based approach is used for modeling fuel consumption for both types of buses. To evaluate the robustness of the modeling approach, Vehicle Specific Power-based modal average fuel consumption rates are compared for diesel buses in the US and Portugal, and for the Portuguese diesel and hydrogen fuel cell buses that operate on the same route. For diesel buses there is similar intra-vehicle variability in fuel consumption using Vehicle Specific Power modes. For the fuel cell bus, the hydrogen fuel consumption rate was found to be less sensitive to Vehicle Specific Power variations and had smaller variability compared to diesel buses. Relative errors between trip fuel consumption estimates and actual fuel use, based upon predictions for a portion of real-world activity data that were not used to calibrate the models, were generally under 10% for all observations. The Vehicle Specific Power-based modeling approach is recommended for further applications as additional data become available. Emission changes based upon substituting hydrogen versus diesel buses are evaluated.


Transportation Research Part D Home Page: