How to give a truck a dainty fuel appetite? Tire smarts

Making a drastic cut in your energy consumption doesn’t have to require high-tech apps, smart meters and rooftop solar panels. As yet another study has shown, a few simple actions can save you big money at the pump and deliver double-digit improvements in your vehicle’s fuel economy.

That’s especially true for drivers of trucks and big rigs.

The right wheel alignment, tire pressure and rolling resistance can cut a truck’s fuel consumption and reduce its carbon emissions by nearly 15 percent, according to research from Volvo Trucks and Michelin. In doing so, those changes can also save a truck-driver as much as €8,000($10,356)  per vehicle per year.

“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,” said Arne-Helge Andreassen, business area manager for tires and wheel alignment at Volvo Trucks’ Aftermarket department, adding that haulage companies could make a big difference by checking trucks for problems and correcting them. “If everyone did this, it would have a significant impact on carbon dioxide emissions.”

In a two-week-long, 1,000-kilometer test on a track and in a workshop, Volvo and Michelin compared how different wheel alignments, tire pressure and types of tires could affect truck mileage and emissions. The test found, for example, that diesel consumption increases dramatically if wheels are not exactly parallel.

All told, the right choice of tire could affect fuel consumption by as much as 11 percent, the study  found. Wheel alignment added another 2.5 percent of potential impact, while proper tire inflation helped improve mileage by another 1 percent.

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