Executive Guide to Fleet Fuel Economy Part 1 of 2: Vehicle Configuration and Operating Factors Emphasizing Fuel Economy Pays Off...

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2 Table of Contents Executive Guide to Fleet Fuel Economy... 1 Part 1 of 2: Vehicle Configuration and Operating Factors... 1 Introduction... 3 Emphasizing Fuel Economy Pays Off... 4 ENGINE EFFICIENCY... 4 Reducing Horsepower Requirements Reduces Fuel Consumption... 6 Wind Resistance... 6 Rolling Resistance... 7 Terrain... 8 Parasitic Devices and Vehicle Specification....8 Friction... 9 ENGINE IDLING... 9 DRIVER IMPACT ON FUEL ECONOMY...10 CONCLUSION

3 Introduction With major flux and market volatility surrounding the cost of diesel fuel, complete with highs over $4 per gallon over sustained periods, it is crucial that businesses take full control over variables affecting fuel spend and consumption that are within their influence. One solution to spiraling fuel costs is to focus on the basic premise of conservation. To achieve improved fuel economy in a systematic way requires a good understanding of the elements that affect vehicle performance and the development of a plan to minimize their impact. This paper is intended to provide a refresher on fuel economy basics and a discussion of savings options you may select to implement within your fleet. A complete fuel management program generally begins with fuel purchasing and ends with vehicle fuel consumption. Our focus in this document will be on vehicular aspects of fuel economy. Part 2 of this Executive Guide will explore the challenge of driver management in a fuel conservation program. 3

4 EMPHASIZING FUEL ECONOMY PAYS OFF The chart below depicts how small improvements in fuel economy can have big impacts on your fleet s annual fuel bill. In addition, fuel savings drop directly to your bottom line and can be the difference in achieving or expanding profitability. MPG Gain 100,000 Miles 150,000 Miles 0.1 mpg $1041/unit/yr* $1558/unit/yr 0.2 mpg $2044/unit/yr $3066/unit/yr 0.3 mpg $3017/unit/yr $4526/unit/yr 0.4 mpg $3960/unit/yr $5939/unit/yr 1% $627/unit/yr $942/unit/yr 2% $1243/unit/yr $1862/unit/yr 3% $1847/unit/yr $2766/unit/yr 4% $2436/unit/yr $3656/unit/yr *Calculated using 6 mpg and $3.80/gallon US dollars fuel cost There are three items critical to determining what fuel mileage you will get out of your equipment. 1. How much horsepower you demand from the engine 2. The efficiency of your engine/drive train. 3. Proper vehicle operation by the driver. Let s talk about the efficiency of the engine first because it is defined by using the horsepower component of fuel mileage. ENGINE EFFICIENCY Efficiency of the engine is expressed in brake specific fuel consumption (BSFC). BSFC is the quantity of fuel (in pounds) required to produce one horsepower for one hour or lbs/brake horsepower-hour. The lower this number is the more efficiently the engine performs. The efficiency varies in an engine across its speed or RPM range. Typically the most efficient engine speed is some place between peak torque RPM and governed RPM. When you make a decision about the maximum or cruise speed you want to allow the truck or tractor to be driven, your truck supplier will match the engine, transmission and differentials to allow you to cruise in the most fuel efficient range of the engine. Cruising 100 RPM above peak efficiency reduces fuel mileage approximately 3%. 4

5 To test how close your cruise speed is matched to peak engine efficiency, ask your engine manufacturer s representative to run several simulations using different drive train configurations. For example, compare an overdrive transmission with 3.58 and 3.42 rear axle ratios. In addition to fuel mileage, you will also want to consider driveability. Anytime you make a change to vehicle speed, it is important that you understand what impact the change will have on vehicle performance. As vehicle speed changes, the unit will now operate in a different portion of the RPM band which may have a significant impact on fuel economy. A table showing the impact of speed and grade upon horsepower needs and fuel economy: Vehicle Speed in Miles per Hour BSFC Horsepower Grade 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 1.0% 0.0% MPG In the table above you can see the increase in horsepower required between 55 and 65 MPH and the decrease in fuel mileage with the same engine efficiency (BSFC). In the third speed column, the engine efficiency has been changed to for the 55 MPH speed. The fuel mileage is still better than the 65 MPH column. The fourth column shows the impact of driving 55 MPH on a 1% grade. Although BSFC varies between engines, you can achieve a significant improvement in fuel mileage with your current engine if you implement mileage enhancing policies. Reducing Horsepower Requirements Reduces Fuel Consumption The most significant opportunity to improve fuel mileage in your fleet comes from reducing the horsepower you demand from the engine. Therefore, it is important to talk about how to reduce the horsepower from your engine in some detail. The efficiency of your engine will also vary if it is not properly maintained. Consult with your engine manufacturer to determine how to maintain your engine for peak efficiency. Get recommendations on items such as air filter replacement criteria. Inefficient filters increase intake restrictions and can reduce fuel mileage by 1%. Implementing fleet maintenance management software can help optimize your fleet s fuel economy potential. Let s take a closer look at some of the major factors that impact how much horsepower you will need from your engine. Wind resistance, rolling resistance, terrain, parasitic devices and friction all contribute to requiring more horsepower. Let s take each factor and look at it individually. Wind Resistance (The laws of physics.) Number one consumer of horsepower. 4. Every 2% reduction in aerodynamic drag results in approximately 1% improvement in fuel economy. 5. As speed increases, wind resistance increases exponentially. Speed reduction is a fast way to 5

6 improve fuel mileage and was recognized as such when the Federal Government mandated 55 mile per hour speed limits on the nation s highways during the fuel crisis of the late 70 s. Every mile per hour (MPH) over 55 your truck is driven decreases the fuel mileage by 0.1 mile per gallon (MPG). 6. Various air fairings have been developed over the years to improve the aerodynamics of tractor-trailer combinations, thereby reducing wind resistance. The most successful have been the roof-mounted fairings that have come to be generally accepted by van carriers. Many people will try to sell different configurations of fairings. It is nearly impossible to test these devices in fleet use due to the difficulty of tracking data on trailer-mounted devices. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has developed a two truck test that you can use to test devices under controlled conditions if you choose. At a minimum before investing in fairings, ask the supplier for the results of their SAE testing that was done by a reputable testing agency (such as the Transportation Research Center). Reputable fairing manufacturers have this data. A review can then be performed to determine if the investment will have an appropriate payback in fuel savings. 7. Recently, the introduction of aerodynamic trailer skirting on van trailers has improved the fuel efficiency and reduced the aerodynamic drag of tractor-trailer combinations. SAE/ TMC J1321 testing has shown a potential efficiency improvement as high as 7.45%. 8. Higher winds increase wind resistance. A headwind or wind from the side will reduce your fuel mileage and a wind from behind the vehicle will improve fuel mileage. Unfortunately, there s little a driver can do about the weather. Rolling Resistance Second to wind resistance in demanding horsepower. 1. An increase in gross vehicle weight from 65,000 to 80,000 lbs. results in a 5% reduction in fuel economy. 2. The major influence here is the gross combination weight of the loaded vehicle. As weight increases, rolling resistance increases and the amount of horsepower required to overcome the rolling resistance increases. Specifying lightweight components improves fuel mileage but may not be cost justified. 3. Tires make the largest difference in fuel economy below 50 mph; aerodynamics is the most important factor over 50 mph. 4. Low air pressure in the tires dramatically increases rolling resistance. 5. Tire design and casing design changes rolling resistance. Often there is a tradeoff to be made between higher fuel mileage (low rolling resistance) and tread life. It is important to understand this relationship as purchase decisions to increase tread life can have a significant 6

7 impact on fuel economy. All leading tire suppliers and re-treaders offer fuel efficient tire products today. With fuel costs high, your focus should be on minimizing rolling resistance, though rising rubber and tire costs now impact that ROI. SAE testing by Goodyear Tire Corporation demonstrates their next generation tires have the potential to improve fuel savings as much as 8%. Factoring in wind, weather, traffic and vehicle specifications, real-world savings expectations will be closer to 4% in fleet operation. Parasitic Devices and Vehicle Specification It takes horsepower to drive vehicle accessories. Cooling fans, air conditioning compressors, power steering pumps, alternators all demand horsepower, which in turn consumes fuel. Optimizing their performance can improve fuel economy. 1. For example, the fan reduces fuel mileage 7-8% if it is on all the time. If the fan is on 50% of the time, fuel mileage is reduced 4-9%. This is because a fan can take up to 50 horsepower to operate. Specifying a temperature-controlled fan and eliminating manual override switches can save fuel. 2. Specifying a direct drive transmission vs. an overdrive transmission can save 2-3% on fuel economy. In a direct drive transmission, when operating in top gear, no gears are turning inside the transmission, consuming engine horsepower and burning fuel. 3. Alternators can consume up to 30 horsepower when operating at full output. Additional lighting, coolers, refrigerators all consume and require electrical power. While many of these are essential to driver convenience, minimizing their usage can save fuel. 4. Rear axle ratio optimization is critical. Specifying even one axle ratio lower than optimal for vehicle cruise speed will result in a reduction of.1 mpg. Friction Occurs wherever parts rub against each other. 1. Engine oil impacts fuel economy with multi-viscosity and synthetic oils giving improved fuel mileage. 2. Synthetic fluids in the transmission and differentials reduce horsepower required. 3. Properly lubricated and maintained axles reduce friction and the horsepower required to overcome the friction. ENGINE IDLING While fuel consumption at idle varies between engine manufacturers, a good industry standard is 1 gallon of fuel per hour at 1000 engine RPMs. 1. Any reduction in engine idling is a direct savings to fuel consumption. 2. Shutting the vehicle off during lunch/dinner breaks, 7

8 loading/unloading and during short rest stops saves fuel. 3. Today s electronic engines allow you to accurately measure and control the amount of idle time you allow. Idle controls must allow the driver the ability to control cab climate during rest periods. 4. Idle elimination devices, such as generator sets, auxiliary power units, shore power and truck stop devices can have a significant impact on idling and should be considered. Do a financial analysis first to determine ROI under your fleet operating conditions. DRIVER IMPACT ON FUEL ECONOMY The most efficient drivers in your fleet will obtain approximately 30% better fuel economy than your least efficient drivers. In considering a comprehensive driver fuel management program, you should first be able to measure fuel economy regularly and be able to assign specific results to an individual driver, tractor and operations manager. The measurement system employed must be viewed by the driver and manager as accurate, or your project will fail. Regular sharing of performance information with the drivers will also be critical for success. Here are just a few tips to share with your drivers to assist in improving their fuel economy performance: Setting and maintaining proper or company-specified vehicle speed. Using cruise control whenever possible. Practicing conservation of momentum. Limiting the use of vehicle accessories whenever possible. With today s diesel engines, it s OK to turn the engine off in cold climates. Avoiding jack rabbit starts. Using progressive shifting techniques whenever possible. Reducing the number of stops. Limiting engine idling. Conducting thorough pre-and post-trip vehicle inspections. Limiting tractor-trailer gap. Properly setting aerodynamic deflectors. Maintaining proper tire air pressure. Drivers play a major role in fleet fuel economy. A properly trained and motivated driver will make a significant impact on this critical cost area. Engine manufacturers are a good source of training materials to assist in your driver training programs. DVD and audio discs are available with information about proper operation and fuel saving tips for the specific engines in your vehicles. Make them a regular part of your driver training programs. Part 2 of this Fuel Economy Executive Guide series will expand on the leadership decisions and commitments that are necessary to bring about real change in your driver population regarding attitudes and behavior toward fuel economy. We will offer practical and strategic guidance on driver management and behavior modification approaches and techniques, the relative costs of various approaches and their comparative impact on fuel mileage. Driver training, motivation and handling common objections are covered as well. 8

9 CONCLUSION Small improvements in fuel conservation can pay huge dividends in the ability to manage equipment operational expenses. By understanding the basics of fuel consumption, you can develop a better strategy to optimize fuel utilization and get the highest productivity from every gallon. With a focus on the three major consumption areas listed below and small investments in training and technology, fleets can achieve an immediate payback for their efforts. Vehicle 1. Develop and maintain vehicle specifications to maximize fuel conservation. 2. Properly match drivetrain to operating conditions. 3. Utilize fuel-conserving tire systems. 4. Reduce engine idle by managing idle time and investing in idle alternatives. 5. Manage vehicle speed. Outside Factors Suggested Basic Tips 1. Manage vehicle routes where possible to maximize vehicle operation in optimal performance ranges. 2. Minimize stops wherever possible. 3. Provide a managed fuel network to lower purchase costs. Drivers Proactive Steps for Conserving Fuel 1. Train drivers on the basics of fuel consumption. 2. Share engine manufacturer recommended operating practices for conserving fuel. 3. Enlist and motivate driver support in managing fuel. 4. Consider incentive programs to support changes in driver behavior. 5. Give regular feedback concerning fuel conservation efforts. 9

10 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 1. Cummins Engine Corporation. Guide to Saving Fuel-2008, Sales Brochure Detroit Diesel Engine Corporation, Driver Reference Training Manual, S60 DDA. 3. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. Fuel Max Tire Data 4. Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC). TMC Recommended Maintenance Practices Manual , RP1111 & RP1114. American Trucking Associations. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dave Walters holds more than 30 years of experience performing and successfully managing maintenance operations at industry-leading trucking companies. Currently, he is the Technical Sales Engineer for Asset Maintenance Software with TMW Systems. Walters joined TMW Systems from MaintenanceIO, Bridgestone/ Bandag LLC, where he was vice president of the Fleet Services Division. 10

11 TMW Systems is the leading Transportation Management Software (TMS) provider to forhire and private fleets, brokerage and 3PL organizations. Founded in 1983, TMW has focused exclusively on providing mission-critical enterprise software to the transportation industry, including asset-based and non-asset-based operations as well as heavy-duty vehicle service centers. With offices in Cleveland, Dallas, Indianapolis, Nashville, Oklahoma City, Raleigh and Vancouver, the company serves over 2,300 customers, including many of the largest, most sophisticated and complex trucking companies in North America. TMW customers collectively manage over $70 billion in annual freight spend, direct more than 500,000 power units and maintain more than 1.7 million assets worldwide, including North America, Europe, Latin America and Australia-New Zealand. For more information, visit or call (800) A TRIMBLE COMPANY R TMW Systems is a registered trademark. 11

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