Is 10 MPG Possible with a Fully Loaded (80K gross) 5 Axle Truck?

Discussion in 'Trucks [ Eighteen Wheelers ]' started by Dice1, Jul 2, 2011.

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  1. BigJohn54

    BigJohn54 Gone, but NEVER forgotten

    May 13, 2011
    SW Missouri

    Many of your answers make sense. I agree that we need to improve the fuel mileage of our trucks.

    I don't however agree that you can take your truck down for modifications and call it vacation. This is just not very business minded. No more so than not having the money back to build an engine in the example you gave.

    And the example above where you took your 1.28 MPG increase and applied it to a 5.00 MPG truck is not realistic either. If you are smart enough to be doing this work, you are smart enough to know that you would look at it as a percentage. The percentage gain you got was 15.5%. Now you apply that to 5.00 MPG and you get 5.78 MPG, which is a 0.78 MPG increase. That is 0.790 CPM and 0.683 CPM respectively for a savings of 0.107 CPM.

    Another thing most of us would have to consider is shipping costs for the parts. Even if we purchased them where the treatment is done, we would still have to have them shipped to us.

    And I'm not going to replace my differentials because they are old. It would be worthwhile if they had problems. You can skew the cost as you wish but you replaced a differential that you had already replaced. That is additional cost.

    I would have been more interested in this information if you were objective. It seems you are more into making the costs easier to swallow.

    I don't know many owner/operators that can afford a remanufactured differential and then a new differential to replace it when it is fine. Or one who sends there truck in for work and calls it a vacation. This makes as much sense as having no maintenance funds.

    Thanks for the cutting edge ideas though.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2011
  2. kajidono

    kajidono Road Train Member

    Jun 1, 2009
    I think it's more like taking a vacation that you intended to take anyway and sending the truck to the shop because you aren't using it.
    Dice1 and BigJohn54 Thank this.
  3. Dice1

    Dice1 Road Train Member

    Jul 1, 2011
    Bessemer City, NC
    From another forum giving advice as an experienced trucker:

    We are on the same side of the issue if this post is right. I have just took it one step further for you and maybe you don't have to run so hard that you can take a few days off to rest the brain from worrying about the truck not moving all the time.

    I don't run my truck that hard because my fuel cost being less allows me a higher profit margin to work less.

    I have a family life and a life outside of the truck. If it comes to where I have to run my truck so hard that I can't plan 3 or even 5 days out of it, then it is time to find another profession because with my fuel savings and being debt free allows me not to work so hard to make the same money a 75+ mph trucker makes if he drives alot more miles. Been there done that.

    I know some of you are looking at the small gains in mpg, but I prefer to compare to the days when I did not care about fuel cost and thought the faster and the more loads I ran the more I made......boy was I wrong!

    I used to be the 75+ mph left lane cowboy darting in and out of traffic along with tailgating and I would have argued with you that slower does not make more money until I actually did it.

    I used to get roughly 5.5 mpg when I did not care about fuel mileage.

    Using rough numbers including your $2.00 flat rate per mile that is above the national average and round numbers for cost that maybe different, but for this I am going to use flat numbers for this comparision.

    Currently .........The Old Days
    9.5 MPG............5.5 MPG

    $ 2.00...............$ 2.00 Rate per mile including FSC
    $ .50.................$ .50 Maintenance, Insurance, Tires, etc.
    $ .30.................$ .30 Driver Pay per mile
    $ .42.................$ .72 Fuel Cost per mile at $ 4.00 per gallon
    $ .78.................$ .48 Profit per mile

    100,000............162,500 Miles to run to make equal profit per year
    $ 78,000............$ 78,000

    Why run a extra 62,500 miles per year faster not caring about fuel mileage or even equipment mods for mpg improvements to make the same money?

    The faster truck will require more maintence with a higher wear and tear rate than the slower truck.

    More time wasted fueling with the same trucks getting fuel every 200 gallons, the 5.5 mpg truck will fuel 148 times compared to the 9.5 mpg truck fueling only 53 times that is 95 times fewer fuel ups taking a 1/2 hour each is 47.5 extra hours.

    Even regular PMs for lube service taking an hour each every 20,000 miles adds 3 hours more.

    Now for the big number for bumping docks allowing the industry average 2 hours to load and 2 hours to unload for say 1,000 mile trips with 63 extra trips required to make the same profit with our 5.5 mpg truck gives us 252 extra hours bumping docks on 63 extra trips annually.

    No wonder taking 3 days to work on the truck for fuel mileage improvements is hard to work in on a low mpg truck. you have to run hard to make up for a poor business plan with poor fuel mileage numbers.

    It is not just the 62,600 miles, it is the extra maintainence cost for excessive speed and the 302.5 hours lost at loading docks, fuel islands and shop time for PMs.

    The decision to work on alot better fuel mileage with driving habits and mechanical improvements is the best business decision in trucking I have ever made.

    $5+ per gallon diesel fuel is in our future with the current President and the numbers do get alot worse for the 5.5 mpg truck that has the truck running a whopping 151,852 extra miles to make the same profit as the 9.5 mpg truck running only 100,000 miles and if I factor in a FSC, it only gets worse for the 5.5 mpg truck.

    I did not post these numbers to start World War 3 and I know some of you are going to jump all over these numbers, but I can only relate to you my experience when I used to get only 5.5 mpg and I am now looking at close to 9.5 mpg.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2011
    Shardrk, The Challenger and 98989 Thank this.
  4. Dice1

    Dice1 Road Train Member

    Jul 1, 2011
    Bessemer City, NC
    Who runs so hard they don't have time to take a few days off?

    I am glad I am not that tight on the cash flow that I can afford to spend time at home with the family and doing some things I want to do away from the truck by being able to afford to take time off while the truck is being maintained or modified.
  5. Dice1

    Dice1 Road Train Member

    Jul 1, 2011
    Bessemer City, NC
    And now President Obama has requested that Big Rigs or Semis get 23% better fuel mileage by the 2014 model years:
  6. pullingtrucker

    pullingtrucker Road Train Member

    Dec 21, 2008
    Fostoria, Ohio
    I am currently talking to MicroBlue about doing my trailer wheel bearings in Spetember on my "vacation" (I work 3 weeks and take a week off). Do my bearings need replaced? Nope, but I see the true potential in this product. If I get the parts and results that I like then I will be doing my tractor wheel bearings in very short order. Then it will be onto my rearends and transmission. Thanks for bring this topic up Dice and I look forward to future updates.
    The Challenger and Dice1 Thank this.
  7. BigJohn54

    BigJohn54 Gone, but NEVER forgotten

    May 13, 2011
    SW Missouri

    I agree one hundred percent. It is about working smarter not harder.

    So if you can do the treatment while you are taking time off, then there is no lost revenue. My point was to be sure you count all the cost.

    If it didn't apply to your time off then I stand corrected.

    I'm not trying to rain on your parade. As a matter of fact I am looking at doing this too. For me each decision is about having all the facts and an objective analysis before spending the cash.

    To be perfectly fair you need to consider two things about changing differentials that aren’t failing. One, you are spending money that doesn’t have to be spent. Two, you now have differentials that should provide many trouble free miles of operation. So besides the return on investment factor, you have the peace of mind factor.
  8. BigJohn54

    BigJohn54 Gone, but NEVER forgotten

    May 13, 2011
    SW Missouri
    I believe we are on the same page as far as working smarter and controlling costs. Where we differ is how we see and analyze things. I try to be very objective with my analysis, maybe even anal. From what I have seen in this thread, you are very subjective with your analysis of your modifications. You are continually comparing a truck that gets nearly 10 MPG to trucks of years gone by that got 5.0 or 5.5 MPG.

    Who gets that kind of mileage today? Less than 15% of the trucks who don't run more than 80,000 pounds. I used to get 4.3 MPG with a COE grossing 110,000 too. Those days are gone. In the average operation today, most of our trucks (about 64 - 70%) are getting between 6 and 7 MPG.

    Check this thread that you have posted in:

    Twenty-two drivers have posted their MPG average. Of these two always load over 80,000 pounds and one does sometimes. Three get better than 7.0 MPG (you are one) and five get less than 6.0 MPG (three if you take out the over 80,000 pound trucks). The average for those 22 trucks is 6.47 MPG. If you remove the five low and the three high values, the average for those 14 trucks is 6.56 MPG. If you take out the two that always haul heavy and get less than 6 MPG, that leaves twenty trucks with 14 between 6 and 7 MPG (14 / 20 = 70%) and that average 6.63 MPG.

    So let's add some objectivity to the comparison:

    Currently .........Currently
    9.5 MPG............6.5 MPG

    $ 2.00...............$ 2.00 Rate per mile including FSC
    $ .50.................$ .50 Maintenance, Insurance, Tires, etc.
    $ .364...............$ .30 Driver Pay per mile ($36,400.00)
    $ .42.................$ .61 Fuel Cost per mile at $ 4.00 per gallon (0.19 CPM difference)
    $ .716...............$ .59 Profit per mile (0.126 CPM additional profit)

    100,000............121,356 Miles to run to make equal profit per year
    $ 71,600...........$ 71,600

    We must not forget that if miles go down, driver's CPM has to go up to keep wages equal. In my example the 9.5 MPG driver makes $36,400 and the 6.5 MPG driver makes $36,407. Not that I would work for that but it is your numbers.

    IMHO the numbers are great even with an objective comparison. It isn't necessary to compare apples to oranges. Based on my business model and running the same miles I could increase my profit of 0.22 CPM by 74%. With rates where they are this could mean the difference between making a profit and not making a profit.

    Currently .........Currently
    9.5 MPG.............6.5 MPG

    $ 2.00...............$ 2.00 Rate per mile including FSC
    $ 0.14...............$ 0.14 Maintenance, Repairs, Tires
    $ 0.18............$ 0.18 Truck & Trailer Payment
    $ 0.11............$ 0.11 Insurance, License, Permits & Fuel Tax
    $ 0.18............$ 0.16 Income Taxes & Social Security (taxes increase with profit)
    $ 0.07............$ 0.07 Return On Investment
    $ 0.02............$ 0.02 Miscellaneous
    $ 0.48...............$ 0.48 Driver Wages & Benefits (I don't work cheap)
    $ 0.42..............$ 0.61 Fuel Cost per mile at $ 3.95 per gallon
    $ 0.40...............$ 0.23 Profit per mile (0.17 CPM additional profit)

    110,400............110,400 Miles to run to make equal profit per year
    $ 44,160...........$ 25,392

    Based on this last analysis, I could use $18,768 to make improvements on my truck to get the mileage you are getting and break-even the first year. So I guess I just sold myself with my own numbers.
    Shardrk Thanks this.
  9. RenegadeTrucker

    RenegadeTrucker Road Train Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Interesting thread, I am seriously interested.
  10. The Challenger

    The Challenger Kinghunter

    Dec 22, 2007
    East Central FL

    I like this thread a lot and have been following it. I am impressed with your numbers and have a couple questions. What is the longevity of this product? Do you think you could achieve similar numbers on a newer 780 or 670 cummins powered Volvo? You currently drive a 770 I believe. How often do you run in the mountains? Finally, good job and keep up the good work.

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