September 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive
Soft, underinflated tires increase rolling resistance and shorten tire life. TPMS and ATIS systems solve both problems at once.
Have you equipped your fleet with tire pressure maintenance or monitoring systems? If not, you're not alone. In fact, you are in the majority. Fleet surveys conducted by The North American Council for Freight Efficiency show that only about 10% of fleets have embraced TPMS technology, while about 30% of fleets are using automatic inflation systems on trailers.
Both these technologies have proven themselves in real-world fleet testing, including a long-term study conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2010. The ROI was there. Fuel savings was there. Reduced unscheduled tire maintenance was there. So what's the hangup? Why are fleets not all over these simple, inexpensive technologies?
The answer is complex, but partially revealed in a study called "Barriers to Increased Adoption of Fuel Efficiency Technologies in Freight Trucking" published by NACFE and the International Council for Clean Transportation.
With the cost of fuel steadily increasing, conventional wisdom would dictate that available technologies to improve fuel economy efficiency would be widely adopted by the trucking sector. In reality, this is not the case. There are a number of available technologies shown to improve fuel economy that have had limited adoption to date, including TPMS and ATIS.
The report sought to investigate the prevailing barriers to greater adoption of fuel-saving technologies for tractor-trailers in North America.
The study included a unique survey approach. It amassed the perspectives of a number of decision makers in the long-haul sector from fleets, to manufacturers, to integrators and builders, dealers, shippers, and owner-operators to assess the complex issues that govern decisions about technology investment and deployment.
It's worth noting that the study participants are likely to be more technology progressive than the industry as a whole, so the barriers identified in the study are likely to be even more pronounced for the industry as a whole.
Six principle barriers were identified:
- Uncertainty about payback
- Lack of capital
- Lack of credible information
- Insufficient reliability
- Lack of availability
- What the study's authors call the split-incentive barrier.
When it comes to investing in tire-pressure mitigation systems as a fuel savings measure, most of the reasons cited by the respondents fail to meet the definitions of the barriers described above. There is a great deal of data available quantifying the payback, they are not expensive relative to the savings they produce, reliability of the systems has improved over time, and they certainly are not hard to come by.
That leaves the so-called split-incentive barrier, which is described as a situation where the party paying for the product is not the same party that would realize the savings. One could see where that might play in this discussion, but it shouldn't be an insurmountable barrier in most cases.
Next page: Real-World Results