Thought Leadership Reports

From time to time there are topics not related to products, components or vehicles that NACFE believes need to be explored more in-depth. These topics do not fit into the Confidence, Guidance or collaboration Report format for which NACFE is known.

However, using the same research process developed for its other reports, NACFE provides insights into these subjects in the hopes of bringing clarity into what oftentimes is a confusion of information.


Throughout the year, Mike Roeth, executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE), other NACFE team members, and staff from NACFE’s partner RMI, produce blogs and articles on a variety of freight efficiency-related topics. These blogs appear in a variety of media outlets and are consumed individually in what we would like to think of as small, savory bites. However, taken together they represent a complete meal or even a week of meals — a quality collection of NACFE thought leadership on the current and future state of freight efficiency.



NACFE’s Executive Director, Mike Roeth, was honored to be named the 2020 SAE L. Ray Buckendale lecturer for the SAE COMVEC event in September 2020. This honor included writing a manuscript entitled, Transformational Technologies Reshaping Transportation – An Industry Perspective.

The Buckendale lecture is an opportunity for SAE to select one individual each year worthy of recognition for significant contributions to the commercial vehicle industry and for advancing understanding of commercial vehicle design, manufacture, operation, and maintenance. It is a career milestone event reflecting on the expertise and contribution of the awardee.

In his lecture, Mike spent time looking back at the recent history of the industry and he looked at many nuances of the trucking industry that are critical in order to bring technologies to market that fleets want to buy. He also shared insights from early fleet pioneers (PepsiCo, UPS and NFI) in electric truck deployment via three case studies.

The lecture can be viewed here, and the paper downloaded here.

This information can help new commercial vehicle professionals and even us more experienced professionals deal with the transformational changes in technology taking place in the industry today.

NACFE has been fortunate to have three Buckendale winners: Dave Schaller, audience engagement director, in 2006; Rick Mihelic, emerging technologies director, in 2016; and Mike Roeth, executive director, in 2020.


This report provides insights on defining the term production to help demystify it for industry, fleets, regulators, the public, and researchers. A core factor differentiating how the term is used relates to levels of risk acceptance.




This report investigates the factors relevant to intentionally matching a specific tractor model to a specific trailer model in logistics systems for the purpose of maximizing fuel economy, minimizing emissions and improving profitability.



This report focuses on assessing the current state and future of regional haul as a result of trends in driver retention, growth in e-commerce, the push toward immediate delivery, growth in GPS-based asset tracking systems, advances in technologies such as electric and hybrid vehicles, vehicle automation, and innovations in load matching systems.



This report provides a comprehensive overview of the fuel and freight efficiency measurement and estimation methods used by the industry today. This will allow fleets to make better investment decisions, no matter the technology they are considering.




The Payback Calculator is an incremental analysis tool developed by NACFE and is designed to compare two or more of the situations and/or equipment selections available to a fleet, using the fleet’s own data or their own best estimates to determine how long it will take to recoup the cost of the initial investment in a technology.