Fleet Management

NACFE: Low Rolling Resistance Tires a Worthwhile Investment

August 14, 2015

By Jim Park

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Photo by Jim Park
Photo by Jim Park

Low-rolling-resistance tires – whether in dual or wide-base configurations – are proven to save fleets fuel and therefore have a good case for adoption. That was the message delivered by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency in a telephone press briefing. NACFE Executive Director Mike Roeth delivered the group's sixth Confidence Report on fuel saving strategies for trucking, Low Rolling Resistance Tires.

"These tires have a much greater impact on the fuel economy of the truck than most people believe," Roeth said. "We highly suggest fleets look more closely at the fuel-saving potential of these tires compared to non-low-rolling-resistance tires and consider the fuel savings as an offset to the traditional cost model of a tire that includes purchase price, miles-per-32nd and overall tire life."

"These tires have a much greater impact on the fuel economy of the truck than most people believe."

NACFE's Low Rolling Resistance Confidence Report delves into the benefits and challenges of switching to more fuel-efficient tires, and doesn't shy away from the traditional fleet concerns about the tires, such as shorter overall tire life, traction and driver acceptance. The conclusions of the report draw heavily on the experience of large and small fleets that have significant experience with low-rolling-resistance tires. Some of the feedback came from face-to-face interviews with fleet managers, maintenance managers and tire experts, many of whom shared their own documented experiences with the tires.

The group also compiled insights from 53 medium and smaller fleets, 36 of which had direct experience with low-rolling-resistance tires, via an online Fleet Forum and several tire-use surveys.

The conclusions drawn from the participating fleets were not universally in favor of the tires, but results spoke strongly to benefits felt by a majority of the fleets that had experience with them.

"We knew going into this that every fleet situation is different," Roeth said. "They drive different routes with different duty cycles, and they also have different business cases around their tires and their tire management, and how they approach fuel costs, maintenance and tires. Specific tire choices are unique to each fleet."

Roeth noted that the Confidence Report is not a "sell sheet," but rather a tool that can help fleets figure out what works best for them.

The full report offers two key tools to help in the decision-making process:

  • A Decision Guide to assist fleets in making choices on low-rolling-resistance tires in dual or wide-base configurations, and,
  • A Total Cost of Ownership Calculator to allow users to calculate the total cost of ownership impact of various user-supplied alternatives, such as the axle configuration of their tractor and trailer and associated miles driven, as well as tire-specific data for the steer, drive, and trailer tires that are under consideration.

The Decision Making tools, the full report as well as an executive summary are available free from the Trucking Efficiency website.

NACFE plans to release its seventh Confidence Report on vehicle lightweighting on Aug. 25 the Fleet Technology Expo in Long Beach, Calif.

The group will also hold its next Trucking Efficiency workshop on Sept. 15 in Charlotte, N.C. The event is open to anyone with an interest in saving fuel and reducing fleet operating expenses.

Trucking Efficiency is a combined effort of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency and Carbon War Room to double the freight efficiency of North American goods movement through the elimination of market barriers to information, demand, and supply.

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