Results from a new poll show mixed feedback from carriers when it comes to fuel economy and maintenance costs of 2010 engines versus 2007 engines.

The fleet consultancy group, Transport Capital Partners, says more than half of those responding to its First Quarter 2013 Business Expectations Survey said that fuel economy has improved with new engines, but almost 40% report that there has been no change.

The discrepancy is even more pronounced between large carriers, those with more than $25 million in revenue, and small carriers. 57% percent of larger carriers report fuel economy improvement, compared to 32% percent of smaller fleets.

“Carriers differ in their measurement systems and tracking procedures, but the real story here is that very few carriers have seen a decline in fuel economy with the 2010 engines,” says Steven Dutro, TCP Partner. “Most of the carriers we talk to have reported overall improvement in mpg in recent years from a combination of technology and training efforts.”

TCP notes fleets have adopted other changes at the same time such as reducing road speeds, trailer skirts and other aerodynamics, so isolating pure engine effects maybe difficult.

There are also mixed results on maintenance costs. In the survey, 53% percent said there has been no change in engine-related maintenance costs, while 40% percent indicate that costs have increased.

Larger carriers are evenly split as to whether the 2010 engines cost more to maintain than the 2007 engines. Almost two-thirds of smaller carriers indicate no change in maintenance costs, while nearly 30% percent say maintenance costs have increased.

TCP believes this may be due to some carriers viewing maintenance costs overall rather than by miles generated over the same early portion of the truck life cycle. For instance, older trucks have higher costs than newer trucks.

“The differences in these responses may simply represent differences in measurement and tracking,” says Richard Mikes, TCP Partner. “Significantly, very few carriers report lower maintenance costs for the 2010 engines, and the majority of carriers we know say these costs have increased.” 

More details from TCP Business Expectations survey are available online