Fleets fret a good deal about the cost of fuel, and understandably so — it's one of their biggest and most variable business costs. But regardless of whether diesel prices stay low or even were to spike suddenly, new power units can still save you money.

So says Fort Lauderdale, FL-based truck leasing and business analytics firm Fleet Advantage. "Even though the price of fuel could go up significantly, if it were to do that, a new truck really offsets it because it brings your maintenance costs down to brand-new truck first-year maintenance," contends Mike Spence, the company's senior vice president of fleet services.  

Most analysts' and consultants' predictions for the price of oil this year don't herald a fast, dramatic climb upward, to be sure, and neither does Fleet Advantage. "We don't anticipate that diesel is going to go from about $2.40/gal. now to $3.40/gal. anytime soon, but I think we've discovered that the world economy doesn't work very well on $35/bbl crude oil prices," Spence says.

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