Equipment Specifications

The Brand and Type Equipment You Operate
Does Make a Difference!!!

Specing a fast truck is one thing…
Operating that way costs $$$
You see these operators every day!!!



This page includes tips and information from equipment suppliers and firms who specialize in the trucking industry.

As noted on our Operational Cost Page, we want to show the effect of equipment specs on profitability. We again base this example on an aerodynamic 18-wheel truck with a smooth side van trailer, operating at 60 miles per hour (MPH) with 80,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.

This results in a truck getting about 6 miles per gallon (MPG).

We then vary each parameter to show the relative effect (MPG and cost) from this baseline.

NOTE: This information was compiled from various industry sources and actual operations. It was averaged for discussion and planning purposes. It may vary slightly when compared to individual representations from operators, manufacturers and suppliers. Annual costs are calculated for operations averaging 2,500 miles / week.



- Aerodynamic trucks today are quite an improvement over the past. This aspect alone has helped us pick up over 1.5 MPG.

Note: So that you know, most trucks today are 12% to 22% efficient compared to the old square nose trucks. Each component contributes: 2% bumpers; 4% sloped hood with U/H air; 1% side skirts; 5% top deflectors; 10% side deflectors

- From the old biased tires to today’s radials, we picked up about 1.0 MPG.

- Having the latest engine and spec’s can save up to 0.5 MPG.

- Also having the latest transmission type can save up to 0.5 MPG.

- The type of trailer you pull will affect fuel mileage a little. While we based our example on a smooth side trailer, a ribbed trailer costs about 0.1 MPG; a flatbed (odd shape loads) or a cattle trailer costs about 0.2 MPG; and a car carrier costs about 0.5 MPG.

- We also note that the trailer gap (distance from extenders to front of trailer) can make a difference. If you get any closer than 20 inches, you don’t gain much more. If you stretch it out to more than 50 inches, you have lost about all of your deflector and extender effectiveness (about 7% aero).

- Having the lastest axles can save up to 0.4 MPG.

- Tire tread type does make a difference. Going from highway type treads to off road ones can cost 0.4 MPG.

- Latest generation transmission and gear lubes can affect fuel mileage to a lesser but notable degree.

NOTE: Other considerations include: tractor weight, 5th wheel / pin height and age.


Most trucks today will have many of these improvements in place with you experiencing these benefits.

We suggest talking to your truck, engine, maintenance and tire suppliers to get the best recommendations for your operation.