The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

March 13, 2014

Tri-State Transit to purchase 30 more fuel-efficient trucks

Tri-State Motor Transit Co. is so satisfied with the performance of its new Paccar-powered Peterbilt tractors that it is purchasing 30 more at a cost of several million dollars.

Tri-State will take delivery of the new tractors beginning the last week of this month.

The trucks with the new engine have proved to be reliable and fuel-efficient — both major contributing factors to profitability for a trucking company.

“This tractor has far surpassed our expectations,” said David Bennett, executive vice president of Tri-State. “These tractors are proving to be more durable than people thought.”

For years, the company depended completely on Peterbilt tractors with Caterpillar engines to power its fleet of local and over-the-road trucks. In light of the success with the new Paccar engine, Tri-State plans to convert its entire fleet of 300 vehicles.

Initially, Tri-State ordered 14 of the trucks. The company was hoping the new engine would save on fuel costs by getting about 2 miles more per gallon of diesel.

“What we learned is that we are getting about 2.5 miles more per gallon of diesel and that there has been a lack of breakdowns,” Bennett said. “The lack of breakdowns is critical when you haul across the country like we do.

“With the kind of sensitive materials we transport, we cannot afford to break down in the middle of nowhere.”

The purchase will mean that about 20 percent of Tri-State’s fleet will feature the new engine.

“We will be increasing throughout this year and next year, and we will eventually replace all of our trucks with this brand and model,” Bennett said.

One of the features of the new truck engines is an exhaust gas recirculation cooler, or EGR. To reduce nitrogen oxide and particulate emissions, the engine recirculates exhaust gas back through the engine, burning it in the combustion. That can reduce emissions by as much as 50 percent.

Because the Paccar engine is smaller than a Caterpillar, the grille is much smaller now, lending itself to a more aerodynamic and fuel-efficient shape.

Gone are the two exhaust stacks above the cab that signaled to motorists that a Peterbilt was coming down the road. They have been replaced by an exhaust system that is below the cab. That change also contributes to better airflow and improved fuel efficiency.

Caterpillar discontinued production of its over-the-road truck engines because they could not meet tougher emissions standards for nitrogen oxides that have been imposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Caterpillar is now concentrating on its off-road and construction-vehicle markets.

Familiar color

THE TURQUOISE COLOR of trucks operated by Tri-State Motor Transit, one of the nation’s leading carriers of explosives and hazardous materials, was first used in 1931. When a new truck is purchased by Tri-State, the truck manufacturer orders the patented paint from DuPont.

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