A new study by the U.S. Department of Transportation confirms that truck fleets certainly benefit by using on-board tire inflation systems and truck-level TPMS.
The DOT study showed that fleets will save on fuel consumption and costs, improve tire life and reduce tire maintenance costs.
The study conclusions were revealed at the recent Technology and Maintenance Council annual meeting in Tampa, Fla. During that meeting, the S.2 – Tire & Wheel Study Group Session featured a presentation on the DOT study by Chris Flanigan of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
According to Flanigan, the study was undertaken to “assess the cost/benefit” and “determine if the systems could influence maintenance intervals in a positive way,” as well as consider their impact on “performance and safety.”
"We saw an increase in fuel economy in both fleets of 1.4%, which is a big deal," Flanigan reported. "And based on current fuel costs (estimated by Flanigan at $4 per gallon for example purposes) and equipment costs of about $1,500 per tractor-trailer unit, the ROI comes in under one year."
The DOT conducted the tests between April 2008 and December 2010 using two fleets regional fleets. Through the test period, the two fleets accumulated more than 7 million road miles, used 1.15 million gallons of diesel, and replaced 440 tires due to wear. Another 115 tires were replaced due to damage.
Despite the different service conditions, Flanigan noted, both fleets showed an equal reduction in fuel consumption at 1.4%. Steer tire treadwear for the fuel hauling/delivery fleet improved by 5/32nds of an inch per million miles, while trailer axle treadwear improved 2/32nds.
Treadwear on the drive tires for that fleet, however, soared almost 30/32nds of an inch, Flanigan reported.