The life-cycle value and cost of commercial trucks has always been an important measuring stick for fleets. But with high-dollar emission control technology on the horizon for Class 8 trucks in 2007, Kenworth GM Bob Christensen believes life-cycle calculations are poised to become much more critical. "Fleets must start evaluating their purchasing decisions now for that year, deciding whether to trade in their trucks before or after 2007," Christensen told Fleet Owner. "That's why recognizing the value of a truck's life-cycle beyond just the initial purchase price is so important today." Christensen said how carriers spec various components on their new trucks is going to determine life-cycle cost and value down the road, affecting both cost of operation and the vehicle's residual value when they trade it in. Those are just some reasons why Kenworth went through the trouble of publishing a white paper on how to evaluate truck life-cycle costs earlier this year, he said. "Trying to cut as much cost out of a new vehicle purchase may seem like a sensible decision, but may not always be the wisest one," noted Steve Gilligan, general marketing manager for Kenworth. "Certain components add far more value than others when trade-in time rolls around. And the total cost of these components during the length of ownership can actually be less expensive." Drivetrain, transmission, engine brake, sleeper, air ride suspension, and interior trim are just some of the key features that can have a big impact on both the life-cycle cost and value of a truck.