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Resistance is futile

GREENVILLE, S.C. - Sometime around the fifth grade most math teachers generally pose a particularly interesting question to the class.Given the choice of two one-month-long jobs, would you rather one ...




GREENVILLE, S.C. – Sometime around the fifth grade most math teachers generally pose a particularly interesting question to the class.

Given the choice of two one-month-long jobs, would you rather one that paid a thousand dollars a day or one with a starting wage of only a penny that doubled every day for the full 30 days?

Obviously the entire class recognizes that $1,000 times 30 is $30,000 and that sounds like a small fortune to a room of fifth-graders, so you can imagine everyone’s surprise when they learn that the second salary would yield a whopping $10,737,418.24 paycheque on the final day of the month alone (to say nothing of the previous 29 days’ earnings).

The mistake is the students fail to look at the true numbers down the road, and as a result, they feel quite foolish when the final totals go up on the blackboard.

Tires are the second highest expense on any one-truck owner/operator’s profit and loss statement and so saving money – whenever possible – is appreciated in most circumstances. But shopping solely based on price may mean you’re throwing away more than you’re saving if fuel (the number one expense) isn’t factoring into your tire buying decisions. Tires in Canada generally range in price from about $420 all the way down to about $260.

If you multiply this by 10 – in the case of an O/O outfitting an entire tractor – the range goes from about $4,200 to $2,600. The shortsighted decision would be to save $1,800 and go for the inexpensive brand. However, the tire you spec may impact your truck’s diesel consumption more than five to seven per cent. Using the five per cent mark as a conservative estimate, let’s suppose a trucker runs 10,000 miles a month while getting an average of five miles per gallon. Rather than 24,000 gallons of go-juice, that rig may need as much 25,200.

While the price of fuel has been about as unpredictable as Canadian spring weather, 1,200 gal./month is still going to total 14,400 gal. by the year’s end. Obviously you need to be price conscious when shopping for anything associated with your business, or you probably won’t be in business very long. The trick is to balance a price you can afford with the fuel efficiency hope to achieve. When it comes to tires, higher operating temperatures mean more rolling resistance, which translates into poorer performance at the pump. Rolling resistance is influenced by a myriad of factors from the ambient temperature to the composition of the road’s surface. However, a trio of tire design elements play a large role: tread pattern, rubber compounding and internal structure.

It’s generally accepted among those in the tire biz, that a three per cent reduction in rolling resistance results in a one per cent gain in fuel efficiency.

Think back to that Grade Five math class, what would you rather do – save $1,800 on tires or save five per cent on your fuel bill? n


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