It’s a notable achievement when a truck driver can get 8 mpg (9.6 miles per Canadian gallon) from a heavy-duty diesel engine. It’s something else entirely when that driver is the owner of the company.

“I get out three or four times a month, and I don’t mind setting the bar high,” said Jim Gregg of Glen McLeod & Son with a smile. Of course, his drivers reminded Gregg that he was hauling a light load of bread at the time. Across pancake-flat eastern Saskatchewan and Manitoba. With no headwind.

“In all seriousness, we pay close attention to our fuel economy,” said Gregg. “We all look for ways to reduce costs and improve—starting with me.”

Based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the 20-truck Glen McLeod & Son fleet hauls fresh and frozen food throughout Canada, where diesel fuel is typically about 20% higher than in the United States. The weather, terrain, and heavier gross vehicle weights there complicate the fuel economy challenge for truck owners.

“We can’t control the price of fuel, but we can control our fuel costs,” Gregg said. “The first step is having a great group of professional drivers. The second is to give those drivers the most fuel-efficient combination of truck and engine we can.”

When Gregg decided in 2010 to replace trucks in the fleet, his tractor choice was easy. Glen McLeod & Son has been running Kenworth T660s since 2008 and Gregg likes the aerodynamics, performance, and comfort.

However, this time he had a new engine choice.

The Paccar MX engine, introduced into production in 2010, is a 12.9-liter engine rated from 380 to 485 hp with torque up to 1,750 ft-lb. Three Paccar MX-equipped Kenworth T660s arrived in February. In October, Glen McLeod & Son was to have taken delivery of six more.

The trucks average 80,000-lb loads and 180,000 miles a year in conditions that include the grades of the Canadian Rockies, Toronto traffic, and prairie headwinds. “Still, our drivers get up to 6.75 mpg with the Paccar MX,” said Gregg.

That’s an improvement of nearly 25% over the trucks and engines the T660 and Paccar MX replaced.

“At 12.9 liters, this is a versatile engine that’s efficient and suited to our kind of work,” he said. “It’s also amazing how quiet it is. The drivers love it.”

Gregg said while fuel economy is a priority, reliability, and performance are vital.

“Fresh and frozen food has to be picked up and delivered on time—no excuses,” said Gregg. “Because we’re running a lot of miles and our schedules are so rigid, we have to be 100% confident in our equipment.”

He said the track record of the Paccar MX answered any questions about reliability, durability, and operating costs. “This engine came with a great reputation, and it’s lived up to it,” Gregg said.

Glen McLeod & Son leases its trucks from Custom Truck Sales, the PacLease location in Winnipeg.