Photo: UPS
Sales of natural gas trucks are projected to rise 10% this year.

Don’t leave technicians out of fuel efficiency equation

Oct. 2, 2018
There is strong evidence that properly maintained trucks will enjoy improved fuel economy.

I had the privilege of seeing the Technology & Maintenance Council’s National Technicians Skills Competition, aka SuperTech.

If you are not familiar with SuperTech it is a two-day competitive event that brings contestants from all segments of the trucking industry together for a three-part written challenge and various hands-on skills challenges.

During this year’s competition, the techs were faced with a CNG tank repair and several electric system problems among other things.

I marvel at the skills of the men and women who work on today’s complex vehicles. The wealth of technical and mechanical knowledge they need is staggering. At SuperTech I got to see the best of the best.

Every technician should be recognized and applauded for the work they do not only keeping trucks on the road but also contributing to the fuel efficiency of the trucks on the road.

In 2016 NACFE published a Confidence Report on truck maintenance and its role in fuel economy. The report found that there is strong evidence that properly maintained trucks will enjoy improved fuel economy. The people responsible for keeping trucks maintained properly are the technicians at fleets, dealerships and independent repair garages. They are also tasked with diagnosing, troubleshooting and repairing trucks when something goes wrong despite their best maintenance efforts.

What they do not only keeps trucks on the road, but also helps those trucks achieve optimum fuel efficiency.

SuperTech is a yearly event and I encourage you to attend so you too can marvel at the skills and abilities of today’s technicians. As we move closer to the deployment of battery electric vehicles these techs will have to learn new diagnostic skills and repair procedures. Based on what I saw at this year’s SuperTech competition, I am confident they are up for the challenge.

About the Author

Michael Roeth | Executive Director

Michael Roeth has worked in the commercial vehicle industry for nearly 30 years, most recently as executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE). He serves on the second National Academy of Sciences Committee on Technologies and Approaches for Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles and has held various positions in engineering, quality, sales, and plant management with Navistar and Behr/Cummins.

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