Volvo Trucks/Michelin study finds correct tires, pressure and wheel alignment can reduce truck fuel consumption up to 14.5%
A recent study by truck maker Volvo and tire manufacturer Michelin found that having the correct tires, tire pressure and wheel alignment can reduce truck fuel consumption by up to 14.5%.
The two-week long, 1,000-km (621-mile) test conducted at Hällered, Volvo’s test circuit in Sweden, featured two Volvo FH 4x2 trucks, each equipped with a 500 hp 13-liter Euro 5 engine. Each hauled a fully loaded van-bodied trailer and weighed 40 tonnes gross. One rig was driven with a range of incorrect wheel alignment settings, a variety of tires and different tire pressures; the other was driven with optimal tire, tire pressures and wheel alignment.
The trucks were equipped with special instruments that monitored exact speed, tire wear, tire pressure and rolling resistance. The test engineers made adjustments in the test results for factors such as wind, rain and temperature.
An independent representative from SP (the Technical Research Institute of Sweden) was on location to ensure that the tests strictly adhered to scientific protocol.
All the conditions tested were realistic, and no exaggerations were allowed. Real life is bad enough. Diesel consumption increases dramatically if the wheels are not entirely parallel. And this applies to all vehicles, for construction and long-haul operations too.—Arne-Helge Andreassen, business area manager for tires and wheel alignment at Volvo Trucks’ Aftermarket department
Analysis of the test results reveals that there can be a difference of as much as 14.5% in fuel consumption depending on how the wheels are aligned and equipped. Choice of tire can cut consumption by as much as 11%; correct tire inflation brings a reduction of 1%, while proper wheel alignment can cut fuel consumption by 2.5%.
Jacques de Giancomoni, Technical Account Manager at Michelin, said that one-third of fuel consumption stems from the tires’ rolling resistance.
We must try to do everything we can to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. It’s not enough to just build fuel-efficient engines; Volvo Trucks works consistently and in a variety of ways to cut the fuel consumption of our vehicles throughout their lifecycle.
We know that wheel alignment, tire type and tire pressure all have a major impact on fuel consumption. There is a lack of awareness in the transport industry about the importance of checking tires and wheel alignment, on both the truck and the trailer. At our dealers, we can help haulage companies check the entire rig and correct any problems. If everyone did this, it would have a significant impact on carbon dioxide emissions.—Arne-Helge Andreassen