This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Factors that Affect Fuel Consumption and Harvesting Cost




Kenney, Jonathan

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis




Fuel consumption in logging is an important component of harvesting costs. There has been an increased interest in the carbon budget associated with timber harvesting as well as an industrial need for updated fuel consumption information. Since loggers are paid by the tons of wood they produce, it is important to note how many gallons of fuel it takes to produce one ton of wood. An extensive literature review was conducted to evaluate different harvesting systems and the amount of fuel they consumed per unit of wood they produced. Research has shown that variability in fuel consumption could be attributed to various harvesting conditions. A study was developed and completed to evaluate fuel consumption that involved surveying loggers about slope, tree size, soil moisture, type of cut, types of machines, gallons of fuel consumed, and weight (in tons) of wood produced while harvesting. Data were collected over two years from six logging crews who worked with harvesting operations that supplied ~486,000 tons of wood. Altogether, these crews averaged 0.51 gal/ton for their in-woods operations. The lowest fuel consumption reported was 0.42 gal/ton, and the highest fuel consumption reported was 0.60 gal/ton. The study indicated that for treelength ground based logging systems, factors such as harvest type, average tree size, machine types, and crew differences have effects on fuel consumption. This new data will enable timber harvesters and mills to have a better grasp of modern in-woods harvesting systems and show what factors can lead to variability in fuel consumption.