Kenworth T660s Help Columbus Container Increase Average Fuel Economy by 40 Percent
Regional Hauler Earns 2 MPG Improvement, Expects Nearly $200,000 in Annualized Fuel Savings
COLUMBUS, Ind. – In the back of his mind, Dick Wallman might have been thinking, “Why did we wait so long?”
Columbus Container, which manufactures and distributes corrugated boxes and fillers throughout Indiana and bordering states, was running trucks aged 9 years or older. The fleet’s average was just 5 miles per gallon, and maintaining those units began to eat into operational costs.
“The high price of diesel and higher maintenance costs was a lethal combination last year,” recalled Wallman, who is director of fleet maintenance for the Columbus, Ind.-based company. “When fuel began to spike upwards, we really began to see the impact to costs and knew it was time to modernize.”
Dick Wallman, director of fleet maintenance for Columbus Container, stands next to one of the company’s 29 aerodynamic Kenworth T660s equipped with the Kenworth Extended Day Cab.
When 29 Kenworth T660s equipped with the Kenworth Extended Day Cab were delivered last spring through Kenworth of Indianapolis, the impact was immediate and welcomed. “Drivers were thrilled with the comfort, room and quietness that the Kenworth T660s offer,” said Wallman. “Management was extremely pleased with the T660’s efficiency and fuel savings. Last summer, the dollars we saved in fuel were astonishing. Some drivers got above 8 mpg, and our fleet average was 7. That equated to a savings of more than $31,000 a month, when fuel was at $4.50. Now with fuel at $2.20, we still expect to see annualized savings of nearly $200,000. That’s tremendous for a small fleet.”
Columbus Container trucks are run in a regional operation with stop-and-go multiple deliveries. Each unit averages 50,000 miles per year. “Each driver will make three to five stops per shift, and often come back to one of our distribution centers to reload for another round. Most of the operation is within a 100-mile radius of our distribution centers,” said Wallman.
Running fully-loaded, custom box loads typically amount to 25,000 pounds in the trailer. “Relatively light loads certainly help with our fuel economy numbers,” said Wallman, “but the aerodynamics of the Kenworth T660 contributes the most.”
Columbus Container has its own maintenance facility, but the new trucks have not seen much time on the racks. “The cost of ownership for our Kenworth T660s is very low, and we know they’ll last a long time and command high resale value,” said Wallman. “The excellent uptime has allowed us to move our maintenance crew to service our 125 trailers.”
Keeping its trucks out of the shop pays dividends beyond low cost of ownership, said Wallman. “Most of our deliveries are just-in-time. It’s great to know that our Kenworth trucks are very reliable and will answer the call,” he said. “We also have a great working relationship with our Kenworth dealer.”
According to Wallman, keeping drivers on the payroll has never been a problem. “Since we run regional, drivers get home every day,” he said. “And they come off the shift feeling good – they can’t say enough about the Extended Day Cab. They really like all the extra room.”
The Kenworth Extended Day Cab offers 6 inches of extra length and 5 inches of cab height compared to Kenworth’s traditional day cab. It also offers 2 more inches behind the wheel, additional leg room, up to 21 degrees of recline in the driver’s seat, and 2 extra cubic feet of storage behind the driver’s seat.
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