Fuel economy up 3% at 17 major fleets

NEW YORK, NY — Seventeen major North American fleets – including Canadian-based Challenger Motor Freight and Bison Transport – boosted their fuel economy by 3% in 2015, according the Annual Fleet Fuel Study released today by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE).

Fleet-wide fuel economy increased from 6.87 to 7.06 miles per gallon (34.2 to 33.3 liters per 100 kilometers), representing the largest boost in eight years of consecutive improvements. And they saved just shy of $650 million on fuel bills when compared to the national average.

Put another way, their individual trucks saved about $6,020 per year compared to the baseline of a “business as usual” truck that reaches 6.3 miles per gallon (37.3 liters per 100 kilometers).

“It’s more of the same, but it’s a whole lot more this year,” said fleet engagement manager Dave Schaller. “That’s pretty exciting stuff.”

Calculations were based on fuel priced at 92.5 cents per liter. Today’s Trucking has converted the report’s calculations into Canadian funds.

“Improvements in both the fuel economy and bottom lines of the leading fleets this year provide a compelling call to action for the rest of the industry,” said Mike Roeth, executive director of NACFE. “Investing in efficiency technologies is the new normal. And these fleets are continuing to make investments because they do not want to be caught short when fuel prices go up again.”

The study reviews 69 available technologies. Where fleets adopted 43% of them last year, that was up from 18% in 2003. Adoption rates of electronically controlled transmissions, low-viscosity engine oil, and tire pressure inflation systems for trailers were on the rise, but fleets have been slower to adopt equipment such as boat tails, 6x2s and tire pressure monitoring systems.

When it comes to steps to reduce idling, the studied fleets are adopting everything from Auxiliary Power Units to electric HVAC systems, automatic start-stop technologies, defined engine parameters, and driver incentives.

The studied fleets also report a typical trade-in cycle of more than five years, which means that new trucks are 16% more efficient than the 2010 models they replaced, according to NACFE.

Participating fleets also increasingly adopted technologies that will likely be needed to meet the recently unveiled Phase 2 emissions rules governing Greenhouse Gases.

But the fuel economy gains are not limited to equipment alone. “They’re also becoming much better at how they dispatch their trucks,” said Schaller.

Other fleets included in the research were Cardinal Logistics, CR England, Crete, Frito Lay, Maverick, NFI Industries, Nussbaum, Paper Transport, Prime, Ryder System, Schneider, United Parcel Service, and XPO Logistics.


John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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