When record gasoline costs hit the market price a few years back, the overall effect on consumers was overwhelming. As a result of this, the government established new regulations such as Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE). This directive set a new standard for corporate trucks, elevating their fuel efficiency by up to 20 percent before 2018. In addition, manufacturers are required to produce vehicle models that are fuel-efficient by the year 2014.
Utility companies are very dependent on their bucket trucks; as a result, they are looking for ways to cut down on gas consumption. In turn, this has caused many manufacturers to produce their particular vehicle parts to have a greater positive impact on truck fuel economy. Following are some areas of impact noted by commercial tire manufacturers in their effort to contribute towards greater commercial vehicle fuel efficiency and economy:
The tire rolling resistance is one factor that directly impacts energy consumption. By decreasing this particular driving factor, bucket truck fuel consumption can be lowered. For commercial vehicles, an improvement with its rolling effort is paramount to an overall improvement in fuel efficiency. Approximately 5 to 15 percent of gasoline consumption is necessary for a typical commercial vehicle to overcome this impediment. For this reason, manufacturers are working diligently to put together low rolling resistance tires; however, there are challenges that come with this effort in the area of safety and other areas.
Commercial design specialists are looking forward to producing a drive with reduced levels of rolling resistance. Patterns such as open shoulder ones, though attractive with the vehicle’s performance, are not beneficial in terms of fuel economy. This type of tire design has three major problem areas as follows: the many number of absent treads results in less rubber contact with the road; there are more gripping edges or ‘sipes’ which contributes to higher rolling resistance; and the wheels are exposed to uneven wear which reduces the lifespan of the tread. The only way to achieve a sustainable element is by changing the lug nut dynamics and creating a stiffer lug nut than what is currently marketed. Such a design could try to balance better rolling resistance while maintaining good traction.
Another component which contributes significantly to road driving management is the construction of the tire casing. Ideally, one that is designed to be free rolling while having long-lasting treads would be absolutely ideal; unfortunately, each one of those possible conceptions places a different stress on the tire with differing outcomes. The resolution of the dichotomy could change the way casings are constructed and treads are designed.
Fleet operators have to consider many factors in the overall fuel economy of their company. One overlooked simple solution rests with maintaining proper inflation which can reflect a three-fold benefit to the bucket truck: safer driving; longer tire life; and greater gasoline consumption savings. Regularly checking and maintaining accurate pressure using a gauge will certainly contribute to increased driving miles. If continuous inflation loss is noticed, a bucket truck operator should have the tire checked by a professional. Other related care such as balancing, alignment, rotation, and repair are also important and should be handled by certified service personnel.
The importance on focusing the fleet’s function on becoming more efficient will greatly contribute toward increasing the miles of travel per gallon of each vehicle that is driven by a fleet of commercial vehicles and certainly should be given a high priority by any company. By considering the factors mentioned above, finding the best available tire to meet these requirements will greatly contribute to bucket truck safety, comfort, performance and fuel savings. Now keep those tires rolling!