Survey shows fleets continuing to stretch life-cycles, despite new truck efficiencies

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A survey of US Class 8 truck fleet managers has revealed a contradiction: Fleets want more fuel-efficient trucks, yet they continue to operate older vehicles.

That’s among the findings of a survey by Fleet Advantage, which provides fleets with analytics, equipment financing and life-cycle cost management.

The survey covered fuel economy trends, equipment acquisition and disposition, driver retention and vehicle maintenance and repair practices.

While 70% of respondents reported a consistent increase in fuel economy for trucks with model years 2011-2015, and while fuel economy and maintenance and repair expenses were cited as the main motivating factors for equipment replacement, most fleets continue to run older trucks, Fleet Advantage found.

“Fleet operators realize they can improve fuel economy and lower operating costs with newer equipment since 80% responded that they are aware of federal regulations that require new models to increase their fuel efficiency.  Fleet managers also know that maintenance and repair costs on new models are a fraction of the costs of a four- to seven-year-old truck, yet they continue to operate older less-efficient models. The obvious question is: What is driving this contradiction?” said Brian Holland, president of Fleet Advantage.

“The answer to that question is saving our clients millions of dollars in operating costs annually. Because certain concepts and beliefs are entrenched within every organization, some fleet managers are under the misconception that switching to a three- to four-year life-cycle will increase operating costs. Understanding the difference between a truck’s functional and economic obsolescence alleviates that concern.”

Fleet Advantage claims carriers benefit from running shorter equipment life-cycles and urges them to operate equipment only to the point of economic obsolescence to achieve greater fuel economy, reduced maintenance costs and improved driver retention.

You can download the complete survey here. You must fill out a form to receive it.

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  • It seems that idle reduction is not the concern it used to be a few years ago and I don’t know why. It can’t just be the lower price of fuel. But doesn’t this article support a (another) reason not to idle? If fleets are stretching their trucks’ life-cycle, wouldn’t it make sense to, yes, consider the economic life-cycle, but reduce engine operation hours by not idling and extend the economic life-cycle.