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.