ERJ staff report (TP)
London − A recent survey undertaken by Fusion Research reported that 51 percent of fleets questioned had improved their fuel efficiency in 2013 over previous years.
The study was part of the Texaco Truck Research Report, supported by Chevron Lubricants and Continental Tyres, and was presented during the latter’s media briefing on 6 December.
As part of the research of over 500 operators across the UK, respondents were asked specifically how they felt tires and tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) affected their fuel efficiency.
While 42 percent of respondents stated they regularly monitor their tire pressures, this is a relatively low number when factored against a previous question in which 98 percent of those surveyed indicated they were aware of the impact tire pressure can have on a fleet’s fuel consumption.
Commercial sales and marketing director at Continental Tyres, Arthur Gregg, said: “It’s good news that the industry understands the importance of consistently monitoring tire pressure. Regular checks ensure that should a problem with the tire occur, it is noticed and can be fixed promptly, avoiding any increase in fuel consumption, damage to the tire or costly delays.”
Studies carried out by Continental have shown that over 90 percent of all tire failures are preceded by slow leaks, causing gradual loss of tire pressure.
Other top measures to increase fuel efficiency listed in the survey were: driver training (72 percent), telematics (52 percent), aerodynamic aids (28 percent) and the introduction of routing and scheduling (26 percent).
In terms of tire purchase, one trend which appeared in the survey results was that the size of the fleet often dictated the main factors behind tire purchase decisions. While, overall, reliability and value for money over the life of the tire were deemed to be the most important, with mileage third across all fleets, it seems purchase price and upfront cost is still the number one factor for those with smaller fleets from five up to twenty five vehicles.
Gregg said: “While budget tires may be an attractive proposition initially, they are likely to incur more costs in the long run. Premium tires not only offer longer service life and better reliability and casing durability, but because of their greater fuel efficiency, they are more economical to run.
“One measure which operators seem to be overlooking is the use of low rolling resistance tires, which can provide huge potential for reducing fuel consumption. Together with an approach such as ContiLifeCycle [its regrooving and retreading service] and the use of TPMS, fleets have more opportunities than ever before to find ways to lower their costs.”
Continental is currently trialling its ContiPressureCheck system with a number of UK truck and coach operators to enable fleets to see first-hand the benefits of running a TPMS system as part of a comprehensive tire programme.