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Air Compressors: Giving Customers a Fuel-Economy Boost

Cummins X15™ engines feature a naturally aspirated air compressor design that delivers up to 1.5 percent greater fuel economy on our 2017 models versus 2013 models. Two versions are available: a single-cylinder model, and a twin-cylinder model, for applications with higher air usage requirements.

In prior years, customers with higher air demand used a turbocharged single-cylinder air compressor to run all vehicle air components. Now, Cummins recommends that a naturally aspirated twin-cylinder model be used for higher-demand applications, to help maintain the excellent fuel economy of Cummins engines while enhancing reliability and durability. The key to making the right choice is knowing your customers’ equipment and understanding the application, duty cycle and environment the new units will be exposed to.

For example, you’ve got a line-haul trucking firm using sleeper cabs powered by an X15™ Efficiency Series engine rated at 1850 lb-ft of peak torque. They are hauling sensitive electronics at maximum gross weight. The units are equipped with air suspension and a central tire inflation/deflation system. Equipping this spec with a naturally aspirated single-cylinder air compressor increases the air compressor duty cycle, which may lead to premature wear. To reduce the air compressor duty cycle, Cummins recommends that the customer equips a naturally aspirated twin-cylinder air compressor to reduce air compressor duty cycle and increase air compressor reliability.

Choosing the right air compressor matters. Plus, by not overtaxing the turbo with what the air compressor was designed to do, your customer would see better fuel efficiency with a lower carbon footprint.

The application-based chart below shows point totals relating directly to the demand for compressed air on specific truck applications. Any vehicle scoring less than 14 points should use a single-cylinder air compressor, while those scoring 14 or more points should specify a twin-cylinder model.

Application Description Points Air Compressor
Linehaul/Regional Haul Tractor 6×4 and Tandem Axle Trailer w/Air Suspension and Tire Pressure Maintenance System (TPMS) 9.6 Single
Regional Haul Tractor 4×2 With Double Single Axle Trailers With Air Suspension 8.4 Single
Regional Haul Tractor 4×2 With Triple Single Axle Trailers With/Air Suspension 9.6 Single
Linehaul Tractor 6×4 With Tandem Axle Trailer and Air Assist Bulk Unload, Air Suspension and TPMS 15.5 Twin
Heavy-Haul Tractor 6×4 With Triple Axle Trailer With Air Suspension and TPMS 12.0 Single
Heavy-Haul Tractor 6×4 With Air Lift Tag Axle and Triple Axle Trailer, Air Suspension and TPMS, Application Duty Cycle (medium) 18 Twin
Logger Truck 6X4 With Two-Axle Trailer With Air Suspension, Air Assist Hydraulics, Application Duty Cycle (medium) 12 Single
Logger Truck 6×4 With Two-Axle Trailer With Air Suspension, Air Assist Hydraulics, Off-Highway/Hilly Brake Actuation Duty Cycle (high) 14.4 Twin
Specialty 6×6 With Central Tire Deflation/Inflation and Off-Highway Brake Actuation Duty Cycle (high) 21.6 Twin
Urban Bulkhauler, Commuter Coach, Transit Bus, Refuse etc. >14 Twin

For fleets with a configuration that doesn’t match any of the examples in the chart above, you can use the chart below to determine whether to use a single cylinder or twin cylinder air compressor based on the point total for all of the applicable features combined. If the points add up to 14 or more, your customer should be specifying the twin-cylinder.

Application/Feature Description Points w/ +20% for NAAC
2017 X15 6×4 Tractor With Tandem Axle Trailer (includes; five axles, air dyer and air actuated transmission, fan clutch, seat, etc.) +6
Air Suspension +2.4
Tire Pressure Maintenance System +1.2
Two Additional Axles With Brakes +1.2
High Braking Actuation Applications (Predominate Operation in Urban Areas, Vocational/Off Highway, Stop-and-Go, Hilly/Mountainous Terrain) +1.2 Medium,

+3.6 High,

+6 Extreme

Air Assist Hydraulics +2.4
Air Assist Bulk/Tank Unloader +3.6
Air Actuated Lift Axle +6
Central Tire Deflation/Inflation +12

For additional information to help you spec the best configuration for your customers, visit

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