Transforming Truck Fuel Economy

Fuel economy is always a top consideration to improve a trucking operation’s bottom line. Proper maintenance, alternative routing strategies and new aerodynamic vehicles are just a few ways that the trucking industry is transforming its fuel economy standards. A new era of highly advanced heavy duty vehicles that get unprecedented fuel savings is ahead.

Simple maintenance can have a big impact on fuel economy. Here are a few examples of some easy ways to improve your miles per gallon (mpg):

  • Proper alignment is often overlooked as a simple task that can have a significant effect on fuel economy.
  • Taking care of tires with tasks as simple as maintaining correct air pressure can result in fuel savings. Did you know that for every 10 Psi of under-inflation, fuel economy is reduced by approximately 10%?
  • Allow the engine to breathe. A restricted air intake or exhaust system will result in decreased engine power.
  • Clean the DPF regularly. According to NACFE (North American Council for Freight Efficiency), a well-maintained diesel particulate filter can translate into a 2 to 3% fuel economy improvement.
  • Maintain the cooling fan and A/C system. The A/C compressor requires horsepower to operate. An air conditioning system that is not efficient requires even more power from the engine to work. Make sure condensers and evaporators are free from obstructions.
  • Change the oil. Oil wears down, rendering the engine less efficient. OEMs set a specification for oil changes, but experts recommend basing oil intervals on your fleet’s operations, too. OEMs may set a limit but, is that limit good for your fleet?
Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience (WAVE)

Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience (WAVE)

Maintenance tips have always been helpful to achieving better fuel economy, but the big change for the heavy-duty industry will come from new sophisticated aerodynamics. The “Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience” or “WAVE” is a good example.

A futuristic concept by Peterbilt and other suppliers, it is powered by a micro-turbine-electric hybrid drive and the trailer is made of lightweight carbon fiber. In Germany, Daimler Trucks recently presented its new “Highway Pilot Connect” truck platooning system. The new system, already approved for use in Germany, uses only half the previous traffic space and shows an improvement of 7% in fuel consumption. These are just a few examples of what’s to come.

Tools like the truck maintenance, repair and service information in Mitchell 1’s TruckSeries can be very helpful in helping fleets and independent operators increase fuel economy and keep trucks on the road, operating at peak efficiency. Below is an example of the type of maintenance information you can find in TruckSeries.


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