Focus on Inflation

It seems like every other press conference at the recent TMC meeting had something to do with tires, the importance of proper tire inflation and ways to make sure tires were running at optimal inflation pressures.

Dana Holding Corp. recently published a White Paper, Optimized Tire-Pressure Management, that it says offers “solutions to increase safety, reduce cost for fleets, and support evolving fuel economy regulations.” The company says it is working on a system that will be available in 2017 that will feature both inflate and deflate capabilities.

SKF announced that its new Trouble-free Operation warranty is compatible with Meritor Tire Inflation System by P.S.I., while P.S.I. said 70% of fleets are currently using MTIS.

Aperia Technologies Inc. says that its Halo Tire Inflator has been deployed on thousands of vehicles in more than 100 fleets.

I am not here to endorse anyone of these products. Rather I am in favor of any system that help ensure the correct tire pressure either monitoring so that drivers know whether their trucks’ tires are operating at proper inflation or inflating them via inflation systems.

Back in 2013 our first Confidence Report was on tire pressure monitoring. We studied tire pressure monitoring systems for tractors, tire pressure monitoring systems for trailers and tire pressure inflation systems for trailers.

What we discovered in our work is that fleets will see a 0.5-1.0% increase in fuel consumption on vehicles that have tires underinflated by 10 psi. In our Confidence Report on low rolling resistance tires, we learned that more and more fleets are recognizing the benefits of these tires outweigh the challenges and making a switch.

While proper tire inflation is always important, it is critical that low rolling resistance tires operate at optimized inflation pressure.

Like I said, maybe I was overstating the amount of focus put on proper tire inflation at TMC’s recent meeting, but I left Nashville feeling like industry suppliers are making an effort to give fleets options when it comes to ensure proper tire inflation and that fleets are heeding the warning about what it costs them when they roll on underinflated tires. TMC left a fuel economy evangelist like me feeling really happy.

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