The new year is when many business owners reflect on results from the previous year and fine-tune their plans for the months to come. When budgeting for 2016, fleet managers will likely look at their investment in diesel fuel, often their largest operating expense.

But evaluating diesel fuel costs should go deeper than the price at the pump. Making the decision to invest in a premium diesel fuel over conventional #2 diesel can have a measureable impact on a fleet’s fuel economy and equipment repair costs.

Even a small boost in fuel economy across a fleet can amount to real savings over the course of a year. Cenex Roadmaster XL® premium highway diesel fuel has been shown to improve fuel economy by up to 5 percent compared to conventional #2 diesel. According to Truckers Report, the average commercial class-8 truck uses 20,500 gallons of fuel each year. A 5 percent fuel savings would amount to approximately 1,025 gallons. Multiply those gallons saved by the average cost of a gallon of diesel fuel and you can see how the savings can add up when applied to each vehicle in your fleet. 

Another factor to consider is wear and tear on equipment. While fuel prices have moderated recently, the cost of new equipment, maintenance and downtime has not. After a decade-long evolution of technology, Tier 3 and Tier 4 diesel engines became more sophisticated to meet air quality standards. But those changes also introduced performance and maintenance challenges. 

High-pressure common-rail fuel injection systems in Tier 3 and Tier 4 engines help reduce emissions, but create potential maintenance issues. Tier 4 engine pressures can increase to 35,000 psi, creating internal temperatures of more than 400 degrees F. At those temperatures, typical #2 diesel fuel can begin to break down. As “cooked” fuel carbonizes, there is greater risk of clogged injectors and filters, which can lead to reduced power or fuel efficiency, and even injector failure.

Cenex Roadmaster XL® is blended with an enhanced additive package, specifically formulated to remove and prevent carbon, metal carboxylates and lacquer-type deposits that can interfere with performance of high-efficiency engines. Investing in enhanced diesel fuel can help reduce downtime and repairs.

Payment strategies: Even with today’s lower fuel costs, why not get the best deal possible? Cenex retailers offer a fuel payment card, which includes a tiered volume discount that pays back starting with the first gallon. The Cenex® Voyager® Fleet Card also shows mileage and automatically calculates miles per gallon to help monitor vehicle and driver performance. Find a Cenex retailer near you for more information.

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