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Wal-Mart Seeks to Double Truck Fuel Economy by 2015

15 December 2005

Walmart
New Wal-Mart trucks

Wal-Mart has set a goal of doubling the fuel efficiency of its new heavy-duty trucks from 6.5 to 13 miles per gallon by 2015, thereby keeping some 26 billion pounds of carbon dioxide out of the air between now and 2020.

Wal-Mart has been working with the Rocky Mountain Institute to initiate a major two-pronged effort to address fossil fuel consumption in transportation and electrical end uses: the total redesign of the company’s trucking fleet (one of the largest in the nation), and the retrofit and redesign of Wal-Mart retail stores and distribution centers for optimal electrical efficiency.

Beginning with the its 2007 model-year trucks, the company will begin introducing models with improved aerodynamics, transmission and tires, as well as an auxiliary power unit in every truck in its fleet.

Some of the changes include:

  • Trailer Side Skirts. Wind skirts under the trailer significantly reduce wind resistance and reduces airflow around the trailer. This is a big fuel economy benefit.

  • Super Single Tires. Wal-Mart combined the two wheels normally seen on a rear axle into a single wheel that is not quite as wide as the sum of two wheels. This gives a smoother ride and better fuel economy from the reduced surface area and improved tire wall stiffness.

  • Aerodynamic tractor package. Making the tractor more aerodynamic radically reduces the fuel required to operate the truck, as approximately two-thirds of all gallons burnt today by trucks can be attributed to overcoming aerodynamic resistance.

  • Tag Axle. Reduced weight means increased efficiency. This type of rear axle reduces the weight of one rear axle as it eliminates internal axle drive train.

  • Auxiliary Power Unit. This APU eliminates the use of the tractor’s main engine for keeping our drivers warm or cool at night. Instead, this very small diesel engine does the job at optimum efficiency. This saves a substantial amount of fuel.

The company has estimated it will save some $52 million per year in fuel costs.

Wal-Mart also has more than 100 hybrids in operation its corporate light-duty vehicle fleet, and is planning to acquire 100 more in 2007.

December 15, 2005 in Diesel, Fleets, Fuel Efficiency, Vehicle Systems | Permalink | Comments (31) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

I'm helping improve Wal*Mart's fuel efficiency to infinity. I just don't buy anything there. They don't have to truck anything around for me.

Why don't I make purchases at Wal*Mart? Poor treatment of women employees. Teaching its employees to use Medicaid instead of providing usable insurance. Stealing overtime wages. Poor environmental policies. Shipping jobs to China to sell the item for a few percent cheaper.

Bah. I don't want any part of them -- and that helps them consume less fuel!

Wow, this moves a semi ahead of the worst SUVs. Amazing, and I hope both that it works and that it is widely adopted.

(on walmart itself, I don't shop there either, but this is the way social capital is supposed to work ... that walmart would do "good works" in the hopes of attracting us. of course, we can be hard to get ;-)

The EPA Smart Way program is encouraging all over-the-road haulers to substitute APUs (which included heat) or gensets (just the juice) for idling. Hopefully, large fleets like Wal-Mart will use auxiliary powers systems that either generate heat and power as needed or connect to "shore power".

Depending upon the amount done by the stores (mechanicals rather than just the envelope), the energy efficient retrofitting could include shore power stanchions for their trucks and the power could come from micro CHP.

Walmart should be commended (not blamed) for their effort to reduce OIL consumption and pollution. Other large distributors-trucking companies should do as much. Trucks are no longer allowed to idle for extended periods in Europe and have to be equipped with on-board gas heater/APU for drivers confort during long stops. We should do the same in USA and Canada.

Diesel prices will certainly encourage more of this.

Harvey, You'll probably see a lot of other companies who compete with W*lM@rt follow suit (if they havn't already). If the improvements have a good ROI then pure capitalism will drive things to the greener side. There's also that public image thing and as younger generation grow up I think the eco side of things is going to carry more weight.

Tripp, I agree with you that others will follow WalMart's example, specially if OIL price stays high enough to turn extra expenditures into relatively short term extra profit. That's why I strongly support higher gas/diesel fuel tax to accellerate similar changes leading to reduction in OIL consumption and pollution emission.

Wow: the shoulders of the Interstates are full of truck tire shreds, because apparently in our el-cheapo world, nobody checks truck tires until they fall apart.

How many people get killed when one of those Super Single tires fails, there's no tire next to it to back it up, and the trailer is whipping all over the road?

You wrote:
Why don't I make purchases at Wal*Mart? Poor treatment of women employees. Teaching its employees to use Medicaid instead of providing usable insurance. Stealing overtime wages. Poor environmental policies. Shipping jobs to China to sell the item for a few percent cheaper.
-------
Learn before you type. Wall mart is doing quite well on the enviroment. This truck thing is not big, its HUGE. But this is not the first big thing they have done...

http://www.nbc5i.com/news/4741583/detail.html

http://www.renewableenergyaccess.com/rea/news/story?id=34647

There are many other things. Spending less on energy means they are looking for many ways to be green. The energy use per store for what is sold is less then any other store I know of.

I wont say Wall Mart is the nicest company, they are not. I am not for outsourcing or thier use of cheap asian labor, but from what I have seen the pay there is HIGHER then other stores. The grocery store union in this area is fighting them hard, but yet they grocery stores pay LESS then wall mart by $1 an hour for starting wages and force people into part time so they get no benifits. Simply put, Wall Mart is not as evil as some people say they are.


On tires, I can tell you Wall Mart shreds less tires per mile then others. Its NOT cost effetive to have a truck on the side of the road, so they dont do it. One truck on the side of the road is more expensive for them then changing the tires more often, so they do. Its usually smaller carriers that dont have strict maintenence scheduals and controls.

They should look into the small stirling engine generators that are being developed by Microgen (British Gas) as domestic cogen units. They would work fine as on-board auxiliary generators. They have a very long life and can run on diesel with almost no noise or emissions.

i think walmart just wants to save money on gas and doesnt give a fuck about the enviroment they just want more money for themselfs.

Why do you care WHY somebody does the right thing? There is absolutely nothing wrong with financial incentives (even incentives that have nothing to do with taxpayer funding) that promote fuel economy and reduce pollution. The incentives are there and Walmart is acting on them. Hats off to Walmart.

Gentlemen,

There is one very simple solution to what can help Walmart plus any vehicle that uses a standard combustion engine. Refer to below. Any Questions? Refer to the email address above.


http://www.scuderigroup.com/technology/the_technology.html.

i wanted to question what a basic aerodynamic shape looks like and how it helps in reducing speed due to wind

I work at a wal-mart distribution center as a yard truck driver (move trailers around the lot). As far as wages go, I make $19.00 per hour, 42k last year with a little OT. Yes, paying $24.00 bi-weekly for health ins is no fun with a $1000.00 deductable. But I can see ANY doctor.... without the book of approved doctors bull that most others have to use. And the bills get paid and not dickered with for months unlike with united health care coverage I had once somewhere else. Wal-Mart private fleet does things that other carriers get lazy on. An example is that every truck and trailer gets it air pressure checked on the tires before leaving the DC. The trailers are loaded to maximize space by the DC by highly paid career loaders in the shipping dept, not cheap $12.00 an hour, dont give a dam losers. And wal-marts truck drivers are paid a bonus for achieving a fuel mileage goal. Go to Target if you think a company that has mostly high school kids and or good looking people working in it at lower wages along with the Im tall sexy, thin, hip TV campaign appeals to you. China? Wal-Mart tried everything they could to sell american up to the mid 90's, but kmart, target and dozens of others saw $$$$ when the manufactures started to push cheep goods from china to the retailers. Go here www.americanapperel.com if you want american made clothes
btw.

If Walmart drivers were union they'd be sleeping in motels and not have to idle or run an Aux "for comfort". Shower too. Jack

Motels aren't always an option, especially on long, long interstate runs. If you're tired, you're tired, and it's the truck stop if that's all you can find.

On the topic of tires shredding and the damage caused if a Single wide tire blew versus one of two narrower duals: if one tire goes out at speed, usually the other one in the pair isn't going to be too far behind it. Lose-lose, if a tire blows someone's screwed.

single wide tires to my knowledge are all being installed with presure sensing RF guages, thus the driver will be alerted prior to a blow-out

As a trucker who does not work for Walmart, here are a few facts:
The changes that Walmart wants to make in it's fleet are a good start, but according to the experts in the trucking industry, the total improvement in fuel economy is going to be about 15% maximum, not 50%.
Walmart should be renamed Chinamart, because you cannot buy anything there that is not made in China.
While they are pushing the GO GREEN here in America, they are making up for it in China. If the pollution standards of the US were applied to China, their gross domestic income would drop by 50%.
The reason for the super tires is to increase payload on the trucks, it has nothing to do with safety, as they are not safer. They allow you to put an extra 1500 pounds of product on the same load.
Walmart deserves a gold star for their hiring policy (handicapped, elderly, etc)
But, do you remember Christmas 2005, when they wouldn't let the Salvation Army ring bells at their stores? Now because of the public outcry they were partnering with the Sal for 2006. Maybe we should start complaining more about the China products and get more US stuff back in the store.

I think it admirable that companies try to reduce pollutants. I represent a company that
distributes a device for just that purpose. it breaks down carbon clusters in fossil fuels which allows them to burn cleaner, reduce emissions by 40%, and as a side benefit, increase fuel milage. I would gladly provide Wal Mart several of these devices for testing to prove my claims and to help them fulfill their desire to reduce emissions and save fuel costs.
Jerry Earley
President
RCSI-LLC

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I hate 2 go 2 walmart.u can not find any help,or there 2 busy talking 2 other emplo.and what this now u load your own gro so the lady can scan faster.and then u hope u dont get stopped by barney at the front door after u have already pd 4 your idems,and they dont even know what there looking 4! It has the most rude,lazest people working.

Sleepinbag :-(

super single tires are plenty safe, as long as drivers check their tires, the military has been using them for over 20 years on all kinds of heavy-duty trucks including tractor-trailers.

why blam the driver for what goes on in wal-mart, WE just driver the truck.
Wal-Mart private fleet does things that other carriers DON'T DO
THEY LISTEN TO THE DRIVERS

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