Fuel Economy: The Talk of the Town

It’s interesting to me when other folks in the industry hit on some of the same points we do in our work toward improving fleet efficiency.

A colleague of mine attended the recent Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week and reported on some of the things she heard that related to fuel economy.

Rick Dauch, president and CEO of Accuride, commented, “In 2012 we heard we had to get lighter.” He also referred to the upcoming Phase 2 of Greenhouse Gas regulations that call for a 24% reduction in emissions and reminded the audience that reducing truck weight by 10% cuts fuel use by 5% to 10%. Then he announced two lightweight aluminum wheels that reduce weight by 5% to 7% and a brake drum that eight 61 lbs.

Eaton announced an enhanced lubricants portfolio, and Donna Mosher, engineering technical specialist, Eaton said, “We’ve raised the bar to meet and exceed customer demands for fuel efficiency, extended drain intervals and improved performance.” She added that initial tests have demonstrated fuel economy improvements of 1.5% on non-Fuller Advantage Series transmissions.

Dana released a line of aftermarket components designed for downsped engines. The company said, its Spicer AdvanTEK 40 tandem axles weigh 21 pounds less than competitive 40,000-pound tandem assemblies, and also enable increased overall vehicle efficiency of 2 percent and can save more than 2,700 gallons of fuel over five years, reducing carbon-dioxide emissions by more than 60,000 pounds.

In his presentation on How Emerging Technologies Can Generate Aftermarket Opportunities, Derek Kaufman, managing partner of Schwartz Advisors and president of C3 Network, reiterated that one of the values of telematics was to monitor idle times. Less idling leads to a reduction in fuel consumption.

While Kaufman thinks autonomous trucks are still a ways off in the future, he believes platooning will be here in two years and said the savings in a two-truck platoon would be about $1,750 per truck per year.

He also focused on the benefits of aerodynamics for both trucks and trailers and said that a 25% reduction in drag can generate a 5% to15% reduction in fuel consumption. He also commented on the downsizing and downspeeding of engines.

There is nothing really groundbreaking about any of this, but what is heartening is the number of people who are using the opportunity at industry meetings and events to talk about fuel economy and making trucks more fuel efficient.

I’d like to thank all of you and ask you to continue to speak out. The more of us who talk about the 12-mpg truck, the more likely it is to become a reality.

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