There’s Only Forward

A 10-MPG average truck. Five years ago, that was a seemingly far-flung, futuristic idea. Today, a demonstration fleet of seven truck-trailers utilizing real-world specs and tackling real-world applications achieved a 10.1 MPG average during the North American Council for Freight Efficiency’s (NACFE) Run on Less cross-country roadshow. The seven participating trucks drove a combined 50,107 miles during the 17-day event, which kicked off on September 6 and ended September 24 at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show (NACV Show).

While all seven trucks exceeded the goal of a 9 MPG average during the event, Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT), a leader in the chase for the greatest fuel efficiency possible, pulled away from the pack with an 11.08 MPG average, reported Royal Jones, president and chief executive officer of MVT. The truck and trailer combinations that achieved that MPG were a standard spec for MVT – an International LT Series with a Cummins X15 Efficiency Series engine coupled to Great Dane trailers, most fitted with skirts, tails and wide-base super-single tires.

If achieving a mind-bending fuel efficiency average wasn’t enough, the trucks in Run on Less were also impacted by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, facing a 6.8 MPG average headwind to 7.6 MPG tailwind, according to That didn’t stop MVT from running efficiently to get the job done.

“The truck started in Miami with a 45,000-pound load headed to Atlanta on an old trailer that had eight tires and no rear tail fairing. It was a 2003 model year trailer that we hadn’t seen in years,” Jones recounted, noting that every trailer MVT owns is the model year 2004 and newer with wide-base super-single tires. “Our two team drivers then picked up another heavy load in Atlanta on a newer trailer and brought it to El Paso. Then they worked a regular run to St. Louis and back to El Paso. We ran twice the miles of any other company on this deal and had more weight and more elevation change than anyone else.”

After laying a fuel-efficient foundation through the right combination of equipment specs, Jones noted that the drivers played a big role in achieving 11 MPG, which is higher than the MVT fleet average of 9 MPG (still a lofty achievement). For MVT, this is only a continuation of the company’s pursuit of efficiency.

“We are working daily on trying new things and testing weekly with MVT Solutions to find ways to make us better and lessen our carbon footprint and lessen our need for foreign oil,” Jones said.