"Diesel engines with diesel particulate filters are going to be much more common than gasoline engines," notes Nissan's Trussel, commenting on the greater efficiency of diesel engines. "Fuel costs for the foreseeable future are going to be a significant part of the overall business expense of transporting products from the farm to the distribution center and finally to the retail point."
Cost of Ownership
Along with efforts to make trucks more environmentally sound and efficient, some companies are also striving to lower the cost of ownership for their customers. According to Ford's Brown, her company has helped contribute to this by lowering the oil change intervals on its 2008 models, from 7,500 miles as opposed to 5,000.
"We've also made improvements on the transmission filter system-we now go to a 60,000 mile transmission fluid change versus a 30,000, so we've doubled that interval, which saves not only the cost of the repair, but the cost of downtime."
In addition, Ford's E-Series has a new brake system, with larger brakes, more swept area on the rotor and re-designed pads, which should extend the life of the brakes. "What we try to do at Ford is impact what our customers are going to be required to invest in the product down the road."