More freight and more MPGs

This past spring Reuters published an article with the following headline: U.S. Energy Information Administration Projects Diesel Fuel Consumption Increase on Growing Freight Transport Demand.

The article stated that U.S. freight movements have been increasing which will boost the consumption of diesel fuel. It also said, “The tonnage of freight moved by road, rail, barge, pipeline and air cargo has been increasing year on year since October, after stagnating for much of 2015/16.”

Clearly the movement of more freight is a good thing. In theory more goods shipped signals a stronger economy.

If Reuters is correct we are going to continue to see freight growth and more good shipped. Add to that the fact that the American Trucking Associations says that more than 70% of freight tonnages moved in the U.S. goes by truck.

The time is right for us to focus even more on increasing the number of miles trucks get from a gallon of diesel fuel. Even with today’s lower fuel prices, fuel is still a large expense for fleets.

There are a number of ways a fleet can improve its MPGs. Some involve purchasing technology that reduces aerodynamic drag or rolling resistance or improves drivetrain efficiency. Fleets can also do things like look at their routing and make improvements to reduce out of route miles and empty backhauls. They also can focus on drivers, who still play a big role in the efficient operation of the truck. Training drivers on an on going basis about what constitutes fuel efficient driving is time well spent. Fleets can even tweak their engine parameters to squeeze every tenth of a mile out of a gallon of fuel.

More freight is good news especially if we assume the bulk of that freight will spend time on a truck. More miles per gallon when transporting that freight is even better news.

And the seven drivers that are two-thirds of the way through Run on Less, the first-of-its-kind fuel economy roadshow have completed a cumulative 30,000 miles and are averaging more than 10 MPG. Follow results of Run on Less through its conclusion just prior to the North American Commercial Vehicle show September 25-28 in Atlanta.

TAGS: Fuel Economics
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