PIT Test Trucks Go Farther on Less Fuel

PIT used four 2009 Freightliner tractors to test Shell Diesel Extra fuel savings.

BLAINVILLE, QC — Fleet operators might be able to save 2.4 percent on fuel with a fuel technology designed to reduce consumption, according to a recent test done by Performance Innovation Transport (PIT).

It’s probably just a coincidence that PIT conducted their first efficiency test for premium diesel fuel around the same time that the Ontario Trucking Association announced that diesel prices are the highest they’ve been in six years, but it’s still good timing!

PIT is the Road Transport branch of FPInnovations Group. Their focus is on helping fleet managers reduce their cost and environmental impact through new technologies. PIT is a not-for-profit organization that doesn’t sell any products – it just test the products. Their most recent product test was for Shell Diesel Extra.

Testing, testing  

PIT took four 2009 Freightliner tractors powered by DD 15 engines and pulled a 53-foot Cube Van semi-trailer around the BRAVO high-speed test track for 13 laps or 87 km.

PIT fed one set of tractor engines with Shell Diesel Extra and the other with regular diesel so as to test fuel consumption.

They found an average fuel savings of 2.4 percent using Shell Diesel Extra over a fuel without economy formula, over the lifetime of the vehicle.

And since not all trucks are built the same, it should be mentioned that Shell claims 2.4 percent savings in heavy-duty engines on highway trucks prior to 2004 and off road vehicles prior to 2006.

When testing, PIT had to factor in equipment, driving conditions and style among other things.

“For each test, control and test vehicles had the same general configuration and were coupled to the same semi-trailers for the base and test segments. The load weights remained the same throughout the entire test period,” PIT states.

But let’s not forget the real driving force behind the machine: the driver.

“Testing took place on a closed test track at a fixed speed of 98 km/h (61 mph), with a standard acceleration and braking protocol for all drivers, in order to eliminate the influences of traffic and variations in driver response,” PIT states.

Travel speeds were monitored by radars and vehicles had GPS data to confirm vehicle speed.

Driving procedure

  • Each day, before the start of testing, all vehicles were warmed up for the same amount of time (minimum one hour) at the test speed;
  • A fixed idling time was used;
  • Drivers started with maximum acceleration;
  • A cruising speed of 98 km/h (61 mph) was set;
  • Drivers maintained a constant driving speed using the cruise control.

In the end, one of the trucks showed fuel savings of 2.18 percent, the other 2.61 percent, for a combined average fuel savings – over the truck’s lifetime – of 2.4 percent.

How it works

Shell says this premium fuel has a detergent-agent in it to prevent carbon deposits that can over time build up on the engine’s injector nozzles. That means the engine can burn fuel more efficiently and as a result, emit less exhaust carbon dioxide and black smoke.

Keeping the injectors clean can also stop corrosion of certain metal parts. Fuels are not naturally corrosive, but there’s still potential for rusting when oxygen and water are present. 

Shell claims to have a dehazing agent added to it that causes good water separation so that the fuel in the storage tank is free from moisture and thus, the equipment is safe from rust.

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