Three years ago, the SuperTruck program hit the streets with the goal of increasing freight efficiency and aiming for a futuristic 10 MPG or more. Today, Mesilla Valley Transportation is hot on the heels of achieving that goal with its standard spec. Mesilla Valley is so hungry for the fuel gains that it accepted the North American Council for Freight Efficiency’s (NACFE) Run on Less challenge – a cross-country roadshow to showcase advancements in fuel efficiency with an overall 9 MPG goal. Royal Jones, president and chief executive officer, was confident that Mesilla Valley would have that beat.
“We will beat the 9 MPG goal and probably be in the 10s,” he said. “Everyone knows we lead the way on MPG; so we thought it would be great to be tested against the others.”
Run on Less demonstrated how Class 8 trucks can use different technologies to achieve the best fuel economy possible. The program featured six and ten Class 8 trucks, using current, commercially available technologies that hauled real freight around the country. The trucks were equipped with different efficiency technologies, and drivers demonstrated how to achieve the best fuel economy in today’s highway tractors. The technologies fitted to the trucks ranged from 6×2 axle configurations and automated transmissions to aerodynamics and other technologies that assist with improved freight efficiency. Driver progress, as well as the dollars and carbon emissions saved, was tracked and reported in real time.
The right mix of specs and the latest in fuel efficiency technology keep Mesilla Valley ahead of the fuel efficiency game. Mesilla Valley Transportation is one of the largest locally-owned transportation providers in Western Texas and New Mexico fielding approximately 1,350 tractors and 5,000 trailers. The fleet specializes in time-sensitive service between major manufacturing areas in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. When it comes to the trailer, Mesilla Valley was the first fleet to spec aerodynamic skirts on all of its trailers. Clearly, outfitting its trailers with the right components plays a key role in efficiency gains, but Jones was bullish on the details.
“We run skirts, trailer tails, wide base tires, etc., and we have other things we do. We are working with Great Dane to implement these things, but for now they are our secrets,” he said with a smile. “We love Great Dane for their quality of trailer and customer service.”
As the price of diesel fluctuates and the refinement of equipment produces incremental efficiency gains when compared to the previous generation, Jones was quick to point out that increasing fleet efficiency is a goal that goes beyond fuel savings.
“The ROI is obviously less now that fuel is cheaper; so anything you do takes longer to get the savings devices paid for,” he explained. “Remember, however, that our ultimate goal should be for cleaner air and the benefits come with improved MPG and less cost per mile.”
The three-week Run on Less experience kicked off from multiple locations across the United States and culminated at the North American Commercial Vehicle (NACV) inaugural show in Atlanta.