Dynamic Dozen

| September 02, 2009

Upgrading your tractor’s drive duals to singles can pay off in both better fuel mileage and the potential to increase payloads and reduce ongoing maintenance and retreading costs. A retrofit of wide singles on your tractor’s drives will cost an estimated $4,400, though, with four new wheels required at $350 or more each and tires that run around $750 apiece.

Using Michelin’s online fuel and weight savings calculator (michelintruck.com) to estimate payback, with a fuel-efficiency gain of close to 4 percent due to the reduced rolling resistance singles offer, the $1,800 yearly fuel savings will pay for the new wheels and tires in just under two and a half years. If you’re in a payload-sensitive application, that time period could dwindle dramatically.

An independent test measuring real-world efficiency gains, with Michelin’s X One as the test tire, found between 6 percent and 10 percent fuel-efficiency improvements. The study was conducted by Oak Ridge National Laboratories for the U.S. Department of Energy.

· If you own a dry van or reefer trailer, gap fairings and trailer side skirts may improve your fuel efficiency by 2 percent and 4 percent, respectively, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay Transport Partnership. Using default prices of around $900 per trailer for gap fairings and $1,800 for side skirts, the EPA estimates a payback of about a year for each device in fuel savings alone.

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