I met Mark Heggestad a few years ago. Mark had a focus on being more efficient while pulling an aerodynamic nightmare.  Many people would have given up on fuel mileage delivering the type of freight Mark transports.  Below is his story in his words... take it away Mark

My pursuit started when I was attending the Mid America Truck show in Louisville, KY in 2016.  I was talking to a gentleman about a business class Freightliner he was driving.  It was a single drive axle setup he was using to haul trailers and vehicles.  The individual was discussing with me about how happy he was with his fuel mileage that he was obtaining with his setup.  I don't recall if he was running a DD13 or DD15, nor his gear ratio, but I do remember how happy he was with the DT12 automated transmission!  He stated he was getting 9-11 miles per gallon consistently, which got me thinking about ways to reduce my operating costs.

Since my entrance into this industry about 15 years ago, I have learned many things about ways to increase profits, as well as ways to cut costs.  The most important thing I learned, was knowing what my operating costs are, to be more profitable and successful.  While figuring out my expenses, I was able to see what my fuel cost was, as well as other essential costs with my business.  Seeing these numbers really got me into thinking about ways to cut my expenses.  So, I began communicating more with my peers, salespeople, experts, and doing a little research about ways to make adjustments.  I'd always dreamed about owning a new truck, but I still had a fear of the significant payments of owning a new truck.

Thankfully with taking some time to stop at a branch dealership, of another location that I was beginning to build a relationship with, at a different place that I was using routinely to perform my service work at, I came across an article about a gentleman that was getting great fuel mileage numbers pulling flatbed freight.  After reading this article at Harrisons Truck Centers, I began to start thinking more about a new truck.  As time passed by, doing some homework on costs for fuel and maintenance, I kept thinking about this article about Joel Boelman, and Henry Albert, in regards to Joel's success in improving his fuel mileage.  I again attended the Mid America Truck Show in Louisville, KY in 2017.  I was walking around on the final day of the show and I was blessed to have the opportunity to meet Henry Albert, Team Run Smart Pro.  What an experience this was, to say the least.  During this meeting, not only did he highlight the ways that I could see some improvements from my current setup, but he also connected me with Joel, and also the valuable information that Team Run Smart offers to this industry.  This moment was the beginning of a life changing event for my business.  Especially after visiting with Henry, and looking at the specs of his truck.  I left the show knowing I needed to do something different, but also knew I had some homework to do.  At this time I was operating a 2009 Freightliner Cascadia, with a DD15 505HP, a 10-speed ultrashift automated transmission, with 3.42 rears, 231" wheelbase, with 22.5 lo-pros, mid-roof.  I was getting between 5.5 to 6.25mpg running 65-68 mph pulling a step deck.  This always seemed fine, as this was what I was accustomed to in the flatbed industry.  I started to put a pencil to the numbers on paper using my current average fuel economy, the potential numbers of 7 and 8 mpg, as well as maintenance costs, and truck payments using a model amortization schedule.  While I was doing the numbers, I began to realize that a new purchase was possible, but still was not a 100% certain, so yes, I admit I was still a little hesitant. 

The final determining factor came while the dealership I was using, Harrison Truck Centers in Fairmont, MN was performing some major repairs on my 2009 Cascadia. I was offered the opportunity to use a 2018 Cascadia, new body style, with the new complete aerodynamics package available, equipped with a DD15 400HP downsped engine, 1750ft/lbs of torque, with a DT 12 automated transmission, 2.85 rears, lo-pro 22.5, in a condo roof style.  I took my sales representative Paul Phillip up on the offer, as I was always discussing with him about ways to try one, to see what kind of performance results I could achieve with this setup.  It turned out to be one of the best experiences I have had in this business.  I proceeded to take a trip to Eastern Pennsylvania, with a load pulling my regular outbound freight, and reloaded in Akron, Ohio with a load of shingles back into Minneapolis.  I completed this trip with limited knowledge of the technological tools available on the new Cascadia.  I was totally amazed with the results, as I averaged 8.22 mpg with this test run.  This trip was done during August of 2017.  I was immediately sold on the new Cascadia, and the latest technology.  I did have several conversations with Henry and Joel during this trip, about how to utilize the new technology, which was a plus.  I immediately began the process of doing calculations of my potential operating costs versus current costs.  I soon realized, I only needed to see an improvement of 1 mpg increase to justify the purchase, without changing my current lifestyle.

March 2018, I finally pulled the trigger on the order of my new 2019 Cascadia, equipped with a DD15 400HP downsped engine, 1750ft/lbs. of torque, DT 12 automated transmission, with 2.16 rear axle with active lube managment, 241 wheelbase, lo-pro 22.5, in a 6x4 setup.  I took delivery of my new truck, the last week of November 2018.  I currently have 37803 miles, with a lifetime average based on fuel gauges data of 7.1 mpg, an improvement of 1.4 mpg over my last truck.  In the last 45 days, I have had 4 fuel-ups of 8 plus mpg.  The previous fuel up I achieved 8.71 mpg. My 2009 Cascadia fuel economy in 2018 ended up at 5.68 mpg.   I am very impressed with the results, so far, as I look forward to even better results soon.  Mission accomplished.   So, I would like to take an opportunity to say a special thank you to Henry with Team Run Smart, Paul from Harrison Truck Centers, and good friend Joel for their expertise during the decision making of my purchase.

Comment (1)

Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/T™, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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Thanks for sharing you’r story. & yes Henry & the Pro team are of a great resource.
I’ve been shopping now for a replacement of my 2009 Freightliner Glider Kit.
I’ve punched the calculator so many times recently & simply cannot justify for my operation the purchase of a new truck. Regardless of the manufacturer.
I think that in the very near future- truck manufacturers will have to come up with better financing opportunities for small business owners.
With new truck prices keep going up, i think we are reaching the point of financial liabilities exceeding the bennefits of owning a new truck verses a used one.
Regardless of transportation market conditions.
With fuel prices stay as low as they are in recent years- loan financing quickly becomes the majore costs of doing business.
One of the more interesting calculation i did this week demonstrated that point & Owners as well as loan providers must understand the real costs of owning a new truck.
Lets start with an example of property insurance costs. {Bobtail}
A ball park number for monthly premium in our industry is 1.1% of vehicle value.
For a 80,000$ truck, premiums will be set at 880$, while for a 150,000$ truck, monthly premiums will reach 1,800$.
Lets take the same example for finance charges.
An 80,000$ truck loan on a truck at 8% APR will start at a costs of 522$ interest charges for the very first month, and for a total spendings of 17,300$ over the term of the 5 years loan.
An 150,000$ loan on a truck at 10% APR will start at a cost of 1,250$ interest charges for the first month, and for a total spending of 50,000$ over the term of the 6 years loan.
After talking to several financial advisors, it seams like those are VERY conservative numbers.
I know guys who gets into 14%/6 years payments plans {& even much more!}. While dealers are offering extended loans at a minimal to no money down.
Equipment financing fast exceeding the bennefits of owning a new truck. & with dealers now offering bumper to bumper extended warrenties, i simply cannot see the financial bennefits of owning a new truck, as used trucks can provide almost equal technologies.
I have a friend who just bought a brand new Volvo & by the time his truck will be paid for- he will be paying an extra 130,000$ in Isurance premiums & loan interest charges.
Because we can now save much of the premiums & interest payments by choosing to buy a used truck- cost of owning a brand new rig- simply do not make financial sense.
With the new Cascedia hitting the used market in ever increasing numbers over the next year or so, i simply could not justify buying a new one for my business at this time.
The sulotion that i can offers to help manufacturers sales more new trucks, is simply to offer an in house leasing options for small business owners at a fixed costs.
For owners who understands financial liabilities, i can offer 2 avenues:
Keep it slow- our costs of operating a small business, ever exceeds the bennefits of robust revenue.
Understand the bennefits of a better fuel mileage, while comparing such bennefits to other costs of doing business.
For just yet one more example, i’ve Did the calculation this week, that if a used Cascedia can get me an 8MPG in my operation, a new one might get me an 8.5MPG.
Since last year i’ve Only spent 38,000$ on fuel, such fuel saving will only increase my profits by 1,900$ annually.
There are MANY other bennefits of owning a new truck. Yet as small business owners we do need to realize that fuel saving dose not always equal money saved or earned.
And the more we communicate our individual business costs- the better truck manufacturers can help us make more money.
Thanks all for all you do over here, i always enjoy reading you’r posts & learnig from you.

March 31, 2019 19:36:33 PM