When diesel fuel prices reached as high as $4.75 per gallon a year ago, Davis Express was way ahead of the competition because it specified its trucks with fuel-saving components and selected the Kenworth T660 as its model of choice.
“Since 2005, we’ve worked with our dealer, Kenworth of Jacksonville, to try to hone in that spec for fuel mileage and achieve optimal fuel mileage for our application,” said Josh Davis, fleet manager of Davis Express.
A regional carrier based in Starke FL, Davis Express hauls refrigerated loads of fresh and frozen poultry and other meat from suppliers to supermarket chain warehouses. It operates a fleet of more than 200 trucks, including 95 Kenworth T660s and 115 Kenworth T800s, and 385 53-foot air-ride refrigerated and dry van trailers, mostly in the southeastern United States. Most of its Kenworths are equipped with 450-hp Cummins ISX engines and 72-inch AeroCab Aerodyne sleepers. Each Davis Express truck travels about 125,000 miles each year.
“When we first started buying Kenworths, we chose specs that were more flashy: the chrome mirrors, the sun visors, the dual stacks on the side of the cab,” Davis said. “Then we started moving to a fuel-mileage spec’d truck, and the Kenworth T660 was the big step in making that happen.”
By lowering the speed its drivers travel, shortening the wind gap between the truck and trailer, running wide-base tires to reduce weight, and adopting the T660, Davis said his company has seen a 9% improvement in fuel mileage from its oldest, least fuel-efficient truck to the T660.
“Back when fuel was $4.75 per gallon, we were way ahead of a lot of our competitors in controlling fuel costs,” Davis said. “Now that fuel is back down to the $2 range, the gap is not as wide. Still, at an average fuel cost of $2.50 per gallon, the 9% improvement in fuel mileage amounts to an annual savings of $4,100 in fuel costs for each Kenworth T660 we bought, resulting in about $389,000 annual savings for all 95 of our T660s.”
Davis also said he also likes the fact that his company’s T660s came equipped with the Kenworth Driver Information Center, which integrates system information into one display within the primary instrument cluster. The driver receives instant access to current trip data, including miles per gallon, engine and idle hours, idle percentage, and optimum rpm range for the engine. The driver can use this information to help optimize fuel usage and reduce wear and tear on the engine and transmission.