Fuel Smarts

Find Test Data in Choosing Economy Options, Report Says

January 28, 2016

By Tom Berg

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Fleet managers should understand the types of tests, and know how one was run and how it relates to their everyday operations.
Fleet managers should understand the types of tests, and know how one was run and how it relates to their everyday operations.

Truck fleets should seek test data on fuel-saving products so they can intelligently decide what to use in their own operations, says the latest “confidence report” from the North American Council for Freight Efficiency and the Carbon War Room.

There are many fuel-economy technologies available, but no one can employ all of them, says the report. It was announced Thursday by email and in a call-in conference for the trade press.

Owners of small fleets, especially, should seek information from testing that’s already been done rather than try to do their own, it contends.

"Fleets must carefully analyze the range of options and compare them against their own duty cycles and operations to determine which technologies offer the fastest paybacks and prioritize those for adoption,” says the report’s executive summary, available here.

Fleet managers need to gather and understand data on their own operations and fuel use, and should find data from testing of the various devices, the summary stated.

And accuracy is important.

“Some will say, ‘That thing will get you 28% better economy,’ when in fact that test was run on a track at a certain set speed,” said Mike Roeth, NACFE’s executive director and trucking operations lead for the Carbon War Room. “You don’t run that way in your operation.”

Truck builders should also use objectively gathered data, because “fleets say they just don’t trust the manufacturers,” he commented. “So manufacturers could be more diligent in using this information.”

Manufacturers might seek specific information from a test, such as a drag coefficient, which fleets won’t find useful. Fleet managers should understand such nuances and know how a given test was run and how it relates to their everyday operations.

“We don’t need a lot more testing,” he said. “We really need a lot more sharing of information that’s out there.”

Roeth said NACFE, informally called Trucking Efficiency, wants to be the repository and disseminator of testing information. It maintains data, as well as its own confidence reports and a special cost-payback calculator, at www.truckingefficiency.org.  

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