LOUISVILLE, KY. Compared to the company’s 2013 engines, new Volvo Trucks heavy-duty diesels certified as meeting 2014 federal greenhouse gas emissions standards are delivering up to a 3% improvement in fuel economy, according to the company. That increase is 1% higher than originally indicated by testing, according to Goran Nyberg, Volvo Trucks president of North American sales and marketing.

“On average, a 1% fuel efficiency improvement amounts to annual savings of more than $650 per truck,” Nyberg said during a press conference at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

The company has also introduced integrated powertrain packages that downspeed engine cruising RPM and can deliver up to an additional 3% in fuel savings. The XE packages for it D13, D16 and now D11 Volvo engines are only turning 1,150 RPM at 65 MPH, according to the company. In addition to the faster rear axle, the package includes a clutched air compressor and low-friction internal components to reduce parasitic losses and a new fuel injector design.

The 13L- and 16L packages now account for over 20% of its truck orders, according to Goran, who expects the new 11L XE package to be popular with regional haulers. That additional 3% improvement in fuel efficiency could potentially translate into a cost savings of as much as $2,000 a year, he said.

In other news, Volvo said work on developing a proprietary 13L natural gas engine was proceeding with field test units due to be delivered to customers within the next three months.  Preproduction models with the Volvo NG engine are expected late next year.

Work also continues on Volvo’s other alternative fuel project announced last summer.  Volvo currently has four trucks powered by DME being field tested by a fleet in California and another group of five undergoing internal testing, according to Frank Bio, Volvo Trucks product manager – trucks.  And it expects to release two more DME powered trucks for further field testing by the end of the year. Bio said during the press conference.