Tire performance critical to long-haul fuel economy, Goodyear says

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. will continue to focus on offering tires capable of delivering greater fuel savings to motor carriers, company representatives said as they introduced a new steer tire model to its Fuel Max truck tire line here at its proving grounds in West Texas, with two more additions on the way later this fall.

“Tires contribute 33% to long-haul fuel economy,” explained Brian Buckham, GM-product marketing for the Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems division, here during an event the company dubbed “Tire Technology Day.”

“Based on our calculations, the break-even point between ‘fuel saving’ tires and ones designed for long tread wear is when the cost of diesel fuel gets down to $1.45 per gallon,” he noted. “And we don’t think we’ll ever see diesel go that low.”

That’s why Goodyear is rolling out the Fuel Max LHS, a fuel-efficient long haul steer tire, to complement the Fuel Max LHD G505D drive tire launched last October, Buckham said.

He noted that the Fuel Max LHS offers 9% better tire tread life compared to its previous fuel-saving-specific steer model, as well as an 8% improvement in rolling resistance.

Later this fall, he said Goodyear will add a Fuel Max trailer tire and regional steer tire to broaden the fuel-saving potential of its Fuel Max design to all wheel positions on a tractor-trailer.

“We know that fuel is a long haul fleet’s number-one expense,” said Buckham stressed. “If you’re a fleet, the quickest way to reduce your operating cost is to reduce your fuel consumption.”

He also referenced a fuel expense calculation built on data points crafted by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) and North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) to highlight such savings.

With fuel on average representing a 65 cent-per-mile cost for a trucking operation and the average on-highway truck traveling 119,000 miles per year, Buckham said, a fleet will spend on average $77,805 annually for one long-haul tractor.

Based on those numbers, a 1% improvement in fuel economy translates into $778 worth of fuel savings per year per truck, he emphasized.
“And those savings accumulate rapidly, with a 2% improvement delivering $1,556 worth of savings and a 3% worth over $2,400 per year, etc.,” Buckham noted. “When you start talking about fleets that operate hundreds of trucks it really adds up.”

He also pointed out that Goodyear is planning to offer wider Fuel Max retread caps in April, adding 8-7/8-in. and 9-/4-in. caps to its existing 8.5-in. cap.
Editor-at-Large Sean Kilcarr’s complete coverage from the proving grounds can be reviewed on FleetOwner.com.

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