By Gino Fontana
Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, Transervice
As originally appeared in FleetOwner Magazine’s IdeaXchange
These days when most people talk about clean or green trucking they are talking about alternative-fuel vehicles. While we are likely moving toward a zero-emissions future, that transition will not take place overnight. Diesel-powered trucks will be on the road for years—if not decades to come, and there things fleets can do to make those diesel trucks as fuel efficient as possible. Diesels that get more miles to a gallon than the national average are, in fact, contributing to your decarbonization efforts.
Today’s trucks have morphed into sleek aerodynamic shapes making them more efficient right off the production line than older trucks. Fuel-efficient fleets understand that good fuel economy starts during the spec’ing process and the spec add-on items to further improve the miles per gallon number. Consider adding things like chassis skirts, wheel covers, low-rolling resistance tires, tire pressure monitoring, devices to reduce idling and if appropriate 6×2 axles. Sit down with the dealership’s salesperson every time you are ordering trucks to make sure you are up to date on the latest fuel saving options that are available.
Once you take possession of the truck, make sure to optimize the electronic engine parameters for fuel economy. This is a non-cost step you can take that will result in fuel economy gains.
Moving behind the truck itself, review your routing. Can you make changes in routing that will improve your efficiency? If you have not performed a routing analysis in some time, I suggest you do so now. The pandemic affected all of us, and I would not be surprised if the needs of some of your customers changed in a way that would allow you to make routing changes that would satisfy their needs but also lead to efficiency improvements for your operation.
Look into backhaul opportunities. Backhauls may not make sense on every one of your routes, but there may be opportunities out there that you can take advantage of.
Tap into your supplier network and ask them to share best practices for saving fuel. They may have suggestions you have not thought of.
Given the price of diesel today, an additional tenth-of-a-mile from a gallon of diesel can up to big savings.