Bay & Bay Transportation isn't new to the fuel savings and emissions-reduction game. In fact, ever since the Anderson family bought the 67-year-old Rosemount, MN-based carrier back in 1988, strict adherence to proper maintenance practices and tire management processes helped keep its trucks as fuel-efficient as possible, lessons learned by Dave Anderson, the family patriarch, from decades spent managing a diesel truck repair shop.
Sam Anderson, Dave's son and president of Bay & Bay, took that legacy a step further by getting the carrier approved for Environmental Protection Agency's SmartWay Transport Partnership, earning a shipper index factor (SIF) score of 1.25, the highest level recognized by the EPA.
“We earned this honor for our emissions-reduction efforts in 2007, but we've been taking significant steps to reduce emissions and conserve fuel for the past decade. We actually came into the SmartWay program already at the highest SIF level possible,” he explains.
Anderson says he'd known about the SmartWay program for over a year and a half, but the tipping point came for Bay & Bay when several customers starting asking the fleet to join the program, dangling big incentives in the process.
“One of our largest shippers told us that if we became an approved SmartWay carrier, they'd put us on a different fuel surcharge that would give us four cents more per mile. That's some serious money,” Anderson says. “We also felt it would be a good way to measure and validate all the environmentally friendly practices we'd been following all these years — and see where we could add new ones.”
Bay & Bay operates 400 tractors, a mix of different Freightliner day cab and sleeper models, in local, short, regional and long haul operations. Its 950 trailers are comprised of dry van, refrigerated and tanker units, giving the carrier a very wide range of freight to carry. “Not too bad for a fleet that had three trucks and five or six trailers when my dad bought it 20 years ago,” Anderson says.
The key for gaining SmartWay approval, however, wasn't to rely on just one or two strategies to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. Rather, Anderson says his fleet employed multiple methods, targeting truck specifications, speed management, and maintenance practices, along with driver education and compliance.
For 2007, Bay & Bay documented a savings of over 1.43 million gal. of diesel fuel. The major sources of that fuel savings included:
Implementing various trailer strategies for smarter fuel use (765,355 gal. saved)
Installing aerodynamic elements on combination trucks to streamline airflow (383,547 gal.).
Installing 140 auxiliary power units (APUs) on trucks so drivers can turn their engines off, yet maintain a comfortable cab (131,400 gal.).
Using low-friction drivetrain lubricants and tire technology to improve fuel mileage (56,264 gal.).
Setting 68 mph cruise control road speeds on company trucks (53,877 gal.).
Anderson says it took about three months for Bay & Bay to be formally inducted into the SmartWay program, which happened this February; time spent amassing data; filling out paperwork; and then submitting it for review. “A lot of back and forth is involved with the EPA as well, listening to their feedback,” he adds.
EPA's Office of Transportation & Air Quality also calculated that Bay & Bay's initiatives prevented the release of 15,918 tons of carbon dioxide, 0.761 tons of particulate matter, and 44.1 tons of oxides of nitrogen from entering the air.
Anderson points out that Bay & Bay didn't just turn on all of these initiatives overnight; the carrier steadily rolled them out over time, especially the APUs and speed governors.