Used Truck Pricing Needs Fuel Economy Evangelists

Second buyers undervalue fuel saving technologies

I’d like to think we are making some progress in the area of getting fleets to adopt fuel saving technology. Our recent Fleet Fuel Study shows that adoption rates are up for a variety of technologies that make fleets more efficient.

That’s the good news. But the not so good news is while we are getting information into the hands of the first truck owners to help them run more fuel-efficiently, our message is not reaching the second owners.

At our recent workshop in Charlotte, N.C., again at FTR’s recent meeting and at a panel I spoke at during TMC’s fall meeting just last week,  fleets used truck dealers were talking about the fact that many fuel saving technologies are not valued on the secondary market, and in fact mostly reduce the resale price.

A prime example is 6x2 axles. Our Confidence Report on 6x2s axles confirmed a 2.5 percent fuel reduction and a 20-month payback for this technology. They also offer a significant weight reduction and a lower maintenance cost because there are fewer driveline components. Concerns about loss of traction and tire wear have been addressed by the use of load shifting technologies, torque limiting at launch and other spec modifications.

We heard that many owner-operators, who are the prime customers for used trucks, have little experience driving trucks with 6x2 axles and don’t know much about them. Given those facts, they are hesitant to buy trucks equipped with 6x2 axles.

I am sure these owner-operators may feel the same way about other fuel saving technologies and either won’t buy trucks equipped with certain items or will expect to pay less for them.

So clearly our work is not done even on technologies that we have already studied and issued Confidence Reports on. There is a great opportunity for those of us who recognize the value of taking steps to improve fuel efficiency to educate others in the industry about our experience with these various fuel saving technologies.  If you have some ideas on how to do this, give me a call or make a comment below.  I’m looking for ways to better reach the used truck market for new technologies.

We all need to become evangelists for trucking efficiency. And just like any other evangelist we need to tell our story as often as we can. If you’ve made the commitment to saving fuel, do your part to help others — especially owner-operators who may not have the same access to information that you do — see the light. That way the first used trucks that get sold will be the ones that are the most fuel efficient.

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