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Saturday, February 4, 2023

Look To Preventive Maintenance As A Way To Combat Rising Diesel Prices


Diesel prices are rising quickly. The fuel costs spent by the trucking industry have been swiftly and steadily rising over the past decade. In 2014 diesel fuel costs were $0.58 per mile, costing the industry as much as the costs of drivers’ wages and benefits combined. A properly maintained truck could provide a 5-10% improvement in fuel economy, which of course puts more money in everyone’s pocket.

The North American Council for Freight Efficiency has partnered with Carbon War Room to form Trucking Efficiency. The work of Trucking Efficiency has begun by producing a series of Confidence Reports, the most recent of which is on maintenance practices. The study team reached two main conclusions regarding the link between maintenance practices and fuel economy in the trucking industry today:

· Fleets view maintenance as important to their operation, but tend to look at it as a means for reducing downtime rather than improving fuel economy.

· There is strong evidence that properly maintained trucks will enjoy improved fuel economy.

“Even a vehicle that is running safely and reliably may still enjoy substantial fuel economy savings thanks to additional or more optimized maintenance,” says Denise Ronidini, NACFE study manager.

The following ten major components or systems were the focus of preventive maintenance for the study.

1. Lubricants/Engine Oil

2. Intake/Exhaust System and Diesel

Particulate Filters

3. Engine Cooling

4. Air Compressors

5. Wheel Alignment

6. Tires

7. Fuel Filter Systems

8. Aerodynamic Devices

9. Electrical Systems

10. Air Conditioning

Although nobody would argue that maintenance is beneficial, some fleets still view maintenance as an expense, making cuts to the maintenance budget during tough economic times. This Confidence Report recommends that fleets should definitely think of maintenance in terms of the fuel economy benefits it offers. Adding up all of the potential reductions in fuel economy covered under the 10 components described in the report shows that maintenance can affect 30% to 50% of fuel consumption.