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MVTS fuel study shows grille guards have minimal MPG impact

Dec. 7, 2023
The aerodynamic impact of the Ex-Guard XG-150G2 equals 0.58 gallons per 1,000 miles, a test by MVT Solutions revealed, while parts and downtime costs following a crash would be much higher.

Testing from MVT Solutions (MVTS) found that the Ex-Guard’s XG-150G2 grille guards have a barely noticeable impact on aerodynamics and fuel efficiency. The fuel economy test was completed on a nine-mile Texas track between two identical International LT sleeper tractors with a Cummins X15 15-liter engine and 53-ft. dry van loaded to 46,000 lbs.—one with the grille guard and one without. The LT with the grille guard attached was determined to use about half a gallon (0.58) more per thousand miles. Factoring for the 2022 average $4.989 cost for a gallon of diesel, a tractor-trailer operator would spend an additional $364 (or consume an extra 73 gallons) over 125,000 miles.

With how much damage and downtime the protective equipment provide in the event of a crash, MVTS considers this is worthwhile investment.

“Ex-Guards provide a layer of protection to the front of the vehicle that definitely reduce the likelihood of replacing front end parts like headlights, bumpers, radar units, grills, cooling systems and air chargers,” explained Daryl Bear, lead engineer and chief operating officer of MVT Solutions. “The level of protection varies by the size and thickness of the Ex-Guard but our fleet has been outfitted with them for several years due to the benefits.”

Benefits range from saving money on replacement parts to reducing equipment downtime. 

“Ex-Guard has a long and successful history of protecting fleets from the expense of downtime due to front end impacts,” Ex-Guard GM Ryan Holt said. “Our customers report that their typical costs per day run from $1,200 to $2,000 or more a day, while FMCSA data shows front end crashes typically cost $15,000 or more in damage. Ex-Guard continues to be one of their most affordable measures to protect fleet operating ratios day in and day out—with no downtime.”

Read more: Keep your guard up: How grille guards mitigate deer strikes, other front-end collisions

A study of 88 Ex-Guard users, whose fleets ranged from 10 to 2,000 trucks, further indicated the annual fuel costs were far lower than replacing parts damaged in a  crash:

 Holt added that “installing Ex-Guard is especially critical right now as we move through deer season and into winter weather,” where drivers must contend with black ice and drifting snow and increased chance of accidents.

Finally, Holt noted, “Depending on the guard and truck, Ex-Guard customers report being able to recoup much of their purchase price of the guard upon resale of the truck.”

About the Author

John Hitch | Editor-in-chief, Fleet Maintenance

John Hitch is the editor-in-chief of Fleet Maintenance, where his mission is to provide maintenance management and technicians with the the latest information on the tools and strategies to keep their fleets' commercial vehicles moving.

He is based out of Cleveland, Ohio, and has worked in the B2B journalism space for more than a decade.

Hitch was previously senior editor for FleetOwner, and covers everything related to trucking and commercial vehicle equipment, including breaking news, the latest trends and best practices. He previously wrote about manufacturing and advanced technology for IndustryWeek and New Equipment Digest.

Prior to that he was editor for Kent State University's student magazine, The Burr, and a freelancer for Cleveland Magazine. He is an award-winning journalist and former sonar technician, where he served honorably aboard the fast-attack submarine USS Oklahoma City (SSN-723).