Trucks at Work
Photo courtesy of YRC Freight

Photo courtesy of YRC Freight.

Not to make fun of YRC’s trucks, but …

It’s becoming a noted axiom in trucking these days that new trucks, despite an often bigger sticker price, offer better fuel economy and overall improvement in life cycle costs versus older equipment.

[You can delve more deeply into why that is so by clicking here, here and here.]

Now, this is sure to be a topic that breeds more than a few arguments. But I recently came across a humorous take on this subject at the expense of LTL operator YRC Freight.

Now, not to poke fun at YRC, but they operate some pretty old trucks. And the motor carrier admits it, too; they recently told David Ross, managing director of the transportation & logistics research group at Stifel Capital Markets that bringing a brand new Class 8 tractor into their fleet right now would net a 16% to 17% return on their investment, with better fuel economy and lower maintenance costs more than offsetting the higher depreciation that comes with new highway iron.

“Plus, there are added benefits from improved safety, improved driver morale, and more reliable service,” Ross noted in a research brief he filed about the company.

However, YRC didn’t tell Ross exactly how “old” their old trucks really are, though its gone through the trouble of retrofitting all 14,000 of its tractors with a variety of new safety technologies, such as in-cab cameras (using Lytx for YRC Freight equipment and MobileEye for trucks operated by its regional carriers New Penn Motor Express, Reddaway, and Holland.)

That, of course, left an opening for a little fun, which Ross promptly took advantage of in his brief with a bevy of one-liners:

  • YRC's trucks are so old ... when they were made, fossil fuels were still dinosaurs.
  • YRC's trucks are so old ... their owner’s manuals were written on papyrus.
  • YRC's trucks are so old ... when they delivered freight to an antique auction, people tried to bid on them.
  • YRC's trucks are so old ... they have VINs [vehicle identification numbers] in the single and double digits.
  • YRC's trucks are so old ... when fuel costs went up, it was because of a rise in coal prices.
  • YRC's trucks are so old ... they helped supply troops at the battle of Gettysburg.
  • YRC's trucks are so old ... they take laps around the mall for exercise.

Those are some pretty clever jokes, if I say so myself.

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