The bad news is there is no magic formula for improving fuel efficiency. The good news is that seven fleets just demonstrated that there are at least seven ways to achieve 10 MPG in real-world operation.
During the recent Run on Less 17-day fuel-economy road show, trucks logged more than 50,000 miles and averaged 10.1 MPG. But the news gets even better: three different trucks had daily MPGS of more than 12.5 and the highest daily MPG was 12.8.
Even the average daily low for these seven trucks was 8.8, much higher than the national average of 6.4.
So what’s their secret? Even with varying duty cycles the trucks had some similar specs: low rolling resistance tires, extensive technology designed to improve the vehicle’s aerodynamics, automated manual transmissions and some sort of idle reduction technology — although not all of them used the same technology for avoiding idling.
But what’s truly remarkable is the specs also varied among the fleets in things like engine, engine ratings, axle configurations, and axle ratios.
We’ve listed the specs of each of the trucks at runonless.com. I encourage fleets to review them and use them as a starting point for evaluating their own move toward a more fuel efficient operation especially in light of the fact that the trucks in the Run achieved these results while going about their normal course of business.
The other key to improving MPG is drivers committed to driving in a fuel-efficient manner. The seven drivers in the Run pride themselves on getting the most miles from a gallon of fuel. They understand that the way they drive has a direct impact on how fuel efficient the vehicle is and they keep trying to push themselves to get an extra tenth of a mile.
There was a time when we thought only trucks in the SuperTruck program could get double digit MPGs. SuperTruck does the hard work of developing new technologies that eventually become commercially available to all fleets. You can view a Story from the Road video on comparing the performance of the trucks in the Run to the SuperTruck ones at runonless.com.
I think we are at a tipping point when it comes to improving fuel efficiency for all fleets. We have the existing technology, we have SuperTruck II working on the next generation technology and we have drivers willing to share their fuel-efficient driving best practices with others. I think we are within striking distance of moving the national average closer to 10 MPG.