I Am Just Curious To Ask A Few Technical Truck Questions.

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Oscar Graham III's Comment
member avatar

How much MONEY annually might a company save in fuel costs per truck in running aero trucks vs conventional long-nose tractors "classic models"?

Does aero body work really make a measurable difference in fuel costs?

Are new aero models that much cheaper to purchase than new classic models?

Is the shorter wheelbase typical of modern aero tractors and the low stubby hood another major consideration in regards to driver visibility and agile maneuvering in town and around the freight yards?

However, it seems that the long hood might offer the driver better crash protection in a front-end collision. I could be wrong.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Oscar, this is a commodities business. Every penny spent is scrutinized and analyzed to death because with a successful tucking enterprise there is a profit margin of maybe 3 to 5 percent in a good year. There are bean counters at these big companies who are constantly straining at gnats just to squeeze another drop from the lemon. I owned some of those "Old School" type trucks years ago. We were lucky if we got maybe four and a half to five miles to the gallon on our fuel consumption. Now days I am driving a modern Volvo tractor and average close to eight miles per gallon.

Now, if you take that difference and calculate it out for a company that has 8,000 trucks on the road, you are talking a serious savings. But... even at that they are struggling to achieve better than a 97% operating ratio - that simply means that 97% of their revenues are spent on operating expenses. No large trucking enterprise is going to put trucks in their fleet that are running well below national averages of the better models on fuel consumption - it takes them completely out of the competition. Where you will see the old classic trucks are niche markets who can get away with charging a little higher rates, but even those guys are suffering with the expenses involved.

We all love the classic looks and lines of those grand old rigs, but their days are numbered in the commercial market place. They will be around here and there, but never in any great numbers. They are just too costly to operate.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
LDRSHIP's Comment
member avatar

I can attempt to answer some of these.

Fuel Savings - I have only driven setback axle aero models, but from what I understand with speaking with others there is a fairly decent difference in mpg. From my understanding 5-7 mpg is fairly typical of a long nose truck. 6-10 is typical of an aero model. So aero models do save fuel.

Setback axles - All aero models are setback axles. Basically the shorter the wheelbase the greater the maneuverability. You do get greater visibility of the area in front of your truck with the sloped hood.

Accident Protection - The aero models have all the modern protections from engines the drop to crumple zones. TBH, short of hitting other semis, rolling over, and running into huge trees or solid rock. Most of the time drivers escape with only minor injuries.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

I wrote this while OS was posting his reply...notice the similarity:

About a 1-2% increase in better fuel mileage; rough calculation $400-$500 annually per truck. Not much, until you multiply that figure by 20,000 trucks (like Swift)...upwards of 1 million dollars in fuel cost savings. All goes to the bottom line. In an industry that typically suffers through an upper 90% operating ratio, 1m is money better spent elsewhere.

The purchase price for new trucks is usually determined by the volume of trucks and standardizing on only a few "work-a-day" platforms, enabling lower cost production and makes volume purchasing mutually beneficial for the seller/manufacturer and the buyer.

The shorter wheel base and short frame trucks? OMG yes, far easier to maneuver in tight spots. I would NOT trade my "SLUF" (Short Little Ugly Fu***r), Cascadia LW for any of the conventional finery out there. It's a job, and I do not want anything to make it more difficult or more time consuming. To put this in perspective, lets say that I am running Walmart Dedicated with a long-nose Pete or KW. And because of the length and longer turning radius I spend an additional 3 minutes per backing maneuver. That's a conservative figure, but for the purpose of demonstrating my point; I back up 5-7 times per day, 5-6 days per week in a 48 week work year, averaging 1200-1400 backs per year. The extra 3 minutes cost me 60-70 hours per year that I could be getting paid CPM on...so I am theoretically losing $1560.00-$1820.00 for the luxury of the long nose ride. Not gonna happen. That's my reality. All about performance and production...we are in a commodity business that is highly time sensitive.

You can visit my profile photos for images of the trucks I like to "look at" the kind I prefer to "drive".

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Oscar Graham III's Comment
member avatar

I can attempt to answer some of these.

Fuel Savings - I have only driven setback axle aero models, but from what I understand with speaking with others there is a fairly decent difference in mpg. From my understanding 5-7 mpg is fairly typical of a long nose truck. 6-10 is typical of an aero model. So aero models do save fuel.

Setback axles - All aero models are setback axles. Basically the shorter the wheelbase the greater the maneuverability. You do get greater visibility of the area in front of your truck with the sloped hood.

Accident Protection - The aero models have all the modern protections from engines the drop to crumple zones. TBH, short of hitting other semis, rolling over, and running into huge trees or solid rock. Most of the time drivers escape with only minor injuries.

Thanks for the answers. The fuel difference is rather shocking. Just for fun I will have to contact Kenworth and ask for fuel consumption differences between a classic KW 900 and their best-selling aero model. The current-production KW900 must still do somewhat better on gas than classic trucks of old.

Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar

The current-production KW900 must still do somewhat better on gas than classic trucks of old.

Fuel, my friend, fuel. Gas is what you get from eating off the roller grill inside the truck stop.

smile.gifshocked.pngwtf.gif

Oscar Graham III's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

The current-production KW900 must still do somewhat better on gas than classic trucks of old.

double-quotes-end.png

Fuel, my friend, fuel. Gas is what you get from eating off the roller grill inside the truck stop.

smile.gifshocked.pngwtf.gif

Oh, come now, Bud!

Don't have to be such a semantics Nazi.

Even in Top Gun, one of the pilots, Hollywood?, told Maverick that he was low on gas in his F-14 Tomcat jet when he was guiding Cougar back to the ship.

i'm sure the stress of low fuel situations will generate much stomach gas.

Oscar Graham III's Comment
member avatar

I wrote this while OS was posting his reply...notice the similarity:

About a 1-2% increase in better fuel mileage; rough calculation $400-$500 annually per truck. Not much, until you multiply that figure by 20,000 trucks (like Swift)...upwards of 1 million dollars in fuel cost savings. All goes to the bottom line. In an industry that typically suffers through an upper 90% operating ratio, 1m is money better spent elsewhere.

The purchase price for new trucks is usually determined by the volume of trucks and standardizing on only a few "work-a-day" platforms, enabling lower cost production and makes volume purchasing mutually beneficial for the seller/manufacturer and the buyer.

The shorter wheel base and short frame trucks? OMG yes, far easier to maneuver in tight spots. I would NOT trade my "SLUF" (Short Little Ugly Fu***r), Cascadia LW for any of the conventional finery out there. It's a job, and I do not want anything to make it more difficult or more time consuming. To put this in perspective, lets say that I am running Walmart Dedicated with a long-nose Pete or KW. And because of the length and longer turning radius I spend an additional 3 minutes per backing maneuver. That's a conservative figure, but for the purpose of demonstrating my point; I back up 5-7 times per day, 5-6 days per week in a 48 week work year, averaging 1200-1400 backs per year. The extra 3 minutes cost me 60-70 hours per year that I could be getting paid CPM on...so I am theoretically losing $1560.00-$1820.00 for the luxury of the long nose ride. Not gonna happen. That's my reality. All about performance and production...we are in a commodity business that is highly time sensitive.

You can visit my profile photos for images of the trucks I like to "look at" the kind I prefer to "drive".

Kenworth offers a model called a T800. It has a sloped hood, a setback front axle but still some classic eye candy like the W900. I like this truck because she still sports the KENWORTH chrome badges on the sides of the hood. Kenworth aero models, sadly, dispose of the "KENWORTH" badges altogether. One can get a tall hood or a sloped hood or a wide radiator for heavy duty use. It seems to be the best compromise between good old American looks and modern bean-counting productivity. This is a popular model for the specialty truck vocations as firefighting, cement mixers and dump trucks. They pull lowboys, logs, tank trailers, oversize load heavy equipment but could scoot along Wally World dry vans or reefers for OTR/regional/local duty just as well.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

LDRSHIP's Comment
member avatar

The Western Star 5700 looks like a cross between a long nose and a aero model. It is a setback axle truck. Although you kinda have to look at the relationship between the front axle and the cab to get that little fact to sink in.

Oscar Graham III's Comment
member avatar

The Western Star 5700 looks like a cross between a long nose and a aero model. It is a setback axle truck. Although you kinda have to look at the relationship between the front axle and the cab to get that little fact to sink in.

The Kenworth T800 has more classic chrome flash than the Western Star 5700 still. I love those chrome cylinder-shape fuel tanks. Chrome step boxes and such.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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