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Smaller Can Be Better

I’ve been seeing a lot of coverage lately on trucking industry websites and in trucking industry publications about the growing interest in smaller engines. It seems like several factors are causing fleets to look at shifting to these smaller engines including greenhouse gas and fuel economy regulations and a desire to reduce weight in order to carry more payload.

Right sizing is often said to be a reason for the switch from a larger engine to a smaller one. Fleets are looking more closely at the duty cycles of their trucks and finding, in many cases, that they actually do not need the power of the big engine to successfully get their loads delivered.

I like the idea of right sizing — investing in the power you need to get the job done and not spending money and fuel and adding unnecessary weight just so you can say you have big power. But I am okay if fleets reduce the size of their engines just to reduce overall vehicle weight.

Of course I would like to see some of the weight savings being used up by other fuel saving technologies that could add weight but pay big dividends in reducing fuel consumption.

One of the arguments I hear from fleets about why they won’t make the switch to smaller engines is they don’t want to take a hit in resale value when it is time to sell the truck to the second or third owner.

I think we as an industry have a job to do here. It is up to us to let smaller fleets and owner-operators know more about the performance of these smaller engines so they will not see them as a negative.

Yes I know 11-liter engines and even 13 liter ones are not right for every application, but they are proving to perform very well in the applications they are suited for. I’m reminded a bit of the first CNG engines being only 9L and many people saying they’ll never work hauling big loads.  For many they worked fine.  Now with the 12L gas engines, fleets may have a better choice.  But, if a 9L can perform, why do we still need 15s on so many trucks?  We need to make sure to share these stories of how these smaller engines perform well, save fuel and are accepted by drivers.

If we keep sharing our successes I am confident it won’t be long before we will be seeing trucks equipped with them being just as valuable in the used truck market as their big power brethren.

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