LOUISVILLE, KY. American fleet managers believe advanced engine oil lubricants, auxiliary power units (APUs) and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) are the most important powertrain technologies for their operations, according to a new survey by the global research firm Frost and Sullivan. Those rankings are being driven by the fleets’ need to reduce downtime and fuel consumption, according to Sandeep Kar, global director of commercial vehicle research.

Speaking at the Mid-America Trucking Show Fleet Forum, Kar said other important technologies identified by the surveyed fleets included automatic and automated transmissions, remote diagnostics and advanced safety systems.

Asked about purchase intentions, over 90% of the fleets said they planned to remain with their current engine displacements and only 20% said they would consider downsizing engines, Kar reported.

In a reversal from the company’s 2010 survey, fleets responding this year indicated a preference for natural gas over biodiesel as an alternative fuel choice.  They also indicated a willingness to pay up to 20% more for hybrid trucks if they could recover that cost through fuel savings in four years or less, Kar told the forum. However, a full one-third of the fleets in the survey said they had no interest in buying hybrid or natural gas trucks at this time.

Looking at advanced safety systems, the fleets ranked disc and larger drum brakes as the single most important safety technology for their operations, followed by electronic stability control systems, and tire pressure monitoring and inflation systems, Kar said.