In 2013, truck fleets alone accounted for 12.5% of the total 6.6k million metric tons of emissions in the US. Heavy trucks comprise just 7% of all traffic but account for 25% of our country’s fuel.
Besides being a heavy load on the environment, such high fuel consumption is also very expensive for trucking companies and especially the smaller truckers.
So, is there a way out?
Yes! Adopting greener practices will help save the environment and will also save you a lot of money. In this blog, we will explore some of the best ways to transform your trucks into lean, green machines.
The design of the fleet
Consider the design of your trucks. Many have the traditional cab-roof fairings, but if you invest in integrated cab roof fairings with closed sides, you can save up to 15% of your fuel costs, per truck! Even if you need to spend some money to do this initially, you will recover it in no time since the cost of fuel is trending upwards.
The aerodynamics of the truck
Another factor that makes a difference is the aerodynamics of a truck. This has a deep effect on fuel usage and can make a fleet far more or less fuel-efficient. For example, aerodynamic drag is a huge source of fuel burn with semi-trucks. 20% of this drag occurs at the tractor-trailer gap, which creates a vacuum that sucks in air, dirt, and snow which damages the vehicle over time, and also increases fuel consumption. A test conducted in Australia showed that vortex generators can be used to drastically reduce drag at the tractor-trailer gap. There are plenty of aerodynamic devices and modifications that one can apply to their truck, for eg. side skirts can also save up to 18% of fuel for each truck.
Proper driver training
Sometimes, things like using the wrong techniques to drive the truck can lead to excessive fuel consumption and wear and tear of the trucks. Training drivers on energy management issues such as the correct way to start and stop, and to plan the route well and perform routine maintenance can help improve the fuel efficiency by up to 35%.
Switch to biodiesel
Many alternative fuels are coming into play, and biodiesel seems to have the most promise. It can be used in a large variety of diesel engines. It’s also a renewable resource, so you can feel good about saving the earth while you drive.
Adopt green technologies
Three are plenty of technologies that can give your trucks a green boost. These include advanced electronic controls and diagnostics, driver management systems, satellite communications, ECMs, next-gen electronic engines, advanced tire systems and more. Many of these are well beyond the experimentation stage. Truckers are trying them and gaining real advantage already because of their initiative.
Making businesses greener has become the need of the hour and it is deeply related to social responsibility. There’s also a lot to gain from a business standpoint, and you can save a lot of money annually by simply adopting smarter, greener practices for your trucking business. That, and you can showcase yourself as an innovative, forward-thinking trucking company that has a thinking and conscious management at the help. That’s a great differentiator too. And, who knows better than a trucker the value of being independent and unique?