Truckers, fleets warming up to Webasto savings

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LAPEER, Mich. – With winter just around the corner, Webasto Thermosystems is trumpeting what it feels is the best way to help conquer the plagues of the industry – rising fuel prices and excessive idle time.

Truckers not only deal with long hours and greasy food en route, but they are in a constant battle with fuel costs and the pressure to keep idle times low. Webasto says its auxiliary truck heating system addresses the latter two evils.

The Webasto heaters offer an economical way to provide engine-off heat for the driver, while reducing idling time significantly. The system can produce 20 hours of heat on one gallon of fuel, as opposed to the one gallon of fuel wasted for every hour a truck sits idling. It also has the ability to connect with an ambient air temperature sensor, which will regulate on/off cycles even more efficiently.

Cost cutting is one roadblock every carrier is familiar with; every avenue ventured results in the same question, ‘Is it worth it?’

England, who has installed the Webasto unit in some 850 rigs, says there have been no complaints from the drivers. The heating unit, according to the company’s drivers, has been reliable and its performance has been top notch, even with 70-inch raised roof cabs.

Using the heating unit, England says, results in positive effects on fuel mileage. England saw a one to two tenths of a mile per gallon savings, which works out to somewhere around US$800,000 in savings each year.

He says they were looking for a way to save money but also keep the drivers warm and comfortable. It speaks volumes for a product, he says, when drivers are this happy with it.

Eric Vaughn of National Distributors in Louisville, Ky., says using the Webasto heater makes it a win-win situation.

The company will save money on fuel and wear and tear on the engines and the driver is comfortable and better able to monitor their idle time, which in some cases is tied directly to fuel bonuses and driver rewards, he adds.

Vaughn says the use of the heating systems is saving the company close to $100 per truck each month on fuel costs alone. The reduction of idle time has been considerable, in some cases from 55 per cent before the heater installation to 10 per cent afterwards.

C.R. England Trucking needs an 18-month payback on a product, England says, in order for it to be a worthwhile investment.

With the Webasto heater, the payback for C.R. England cut the 18-month goal in half, far exceeding its expectations.

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