Fleet Ops: Fuel Efficiency
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Oil Bets Are Off: High priced diesel here to stay
TORONTO -- Get used to high diesel prices. That, according to Eric Starks, president of FTR Associates, a Nashville-based trucking consultancy. FTR products include the U.S. Freight Mode analysis, based on more than 200 commodity groups, and Starks is a leading researcher in freight modal share forecasting. "It's a pretty safe bet that high fuel prices will be with us for a while. You're going to see some jumping around, but $70-plus per barrel for oil is going to be the norm," says Starks. "I don't think we'll get back to $2 per gallon for fuel in this cycle. There would have to be a world slowdown in demand to get us back there."

If there's a fight with Iran, 'all bets are off' when
it comes to oil pricing says FTR Associates
Starks figures that as much as $20 to $25 of that $70-barrel is due to uncertainties in the marketplace, or what some economists call the "risk factor." "There are so many issues out there affecting the price of oil," he says. "The Middle East, Venezuela, Russia. All those big players are starting to try and manipulate the market in some fashion. Each has its own agenda and they all play into that additional pricing." Oil prices rose sharply with the recent Israel/Hezbollah conflict, but the fact that they didn't stay at those levels is a good sign, he says. "But if something happens with Iran I think all bets are off." So. Interested in getting your consumption down in the face of higher diesel prices? You owe it to yourself to investigate the Fuel Economy Digest, a publication of the Technology and Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Associations (ATA). It's a 90-page info-packed handbook should be standard issue for not only drivers but also technicians, purchasers, and dispatchers. It teems with fuel-saving tips, including easy-to-understand cost-per-mile calculators and spreadsheets that measure how much fuel you use -- or lose -- because of add-ons such as APUs or trailer aerodynamic features. Check out https://tmc.truckline.com/store, select "maintenance" in the search category and then type in "fuel economy." Failing that, call 1-800-282-5463.
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