I recently saw a press release about an online tool from Mack that allows fleets to play “what if” with a variety of components on a truck to see their impact on fuel efficiency.
I know other truck makers have something similar, but this particular tool was in the news recently. It got me thinking about the importance of spec’ing in the fuel efficiency equation.
Sure lots of things can be retrofit after the initial purchase, but if you start the new truck ordering process with fuel efficiency in mind, chances are you’ll carry the fuel efficiency banner throughout the life of the vehicle.
There are many things you should be looking at during the specification process. Here are a few of them.
- Engine size: Do you really need to big engine with all that horsepower? Or can you go with a smaller displacement engine and still have the power you need but will save you fuel?
- Weight: Consider lightweight components when you can. You can use the weight savings to carry more payload or to add other fuel efficiency technologies that may add a bit of weight but will save fuel.
- Transmissions: If you are not already considering electronically controlled transmissions, I encourage you to do so. Not only do they save fuel, but also they are great for driver recruitment.
- Tires: Low-rolling resistance tires either duals or wide base will save significant amounts of fuel. Couple them with automatic tire monitoring and inflation devices and you’ll see even more fuel economy gains.
There are other things you need to consider during the spec’ing process, like setting engine parameters to maximize fuel economy, axle ratios and adding aerodynamic devices. The point is that making fuel efficiency part of the initial discussion will pay big dividends over the life of your truck. Even with today’s lower fuel prices, fuel still is where you spend the most money to operate your vehicle. So why not try to squeeze as many miles out of a gallon of fuel as you can right from the start?