First Fleet Corp., a national provider of asset management services to private truck fleets, has announced an initiative that will address rising fuel costs. The company said it will sponsor an 18-month fuel economy study utilizing telematics technology. The study will be conducted under ‘real world’ operating conditions.
“Private truck fleets are under pressure to stop the bleeding and improve their fleets’ fuel consumption,” said John Flynn, president & CEO of First Fleet. “Our goal is to study their fuel consumption patterns with new onboard telematics technology. This will help them define new strategies for achieving better fuel economy, whether it’s through new equipment specs, improved driving methods, reduced idling time, driver training or enhanced maintenance practices. We believe First Fleet’s significant investment in this fuel study will have a valuable impact on improving our customers’ bottom line goals.”
First Fleet noted two events are currently having a major impact on private truck fleets’ overall cost-per-mile: new engine emissions standards that have negatively affected fuel economy, and a record cost per gallon for diesel fuel, which ranks as the second-highest operating expense for truck fleets, exceeded only by driver salaries.
During Phase I of First Fleet’s fuel consumption study, nearly 200 telematics devices will be installed on a large cross-section of Class 8 tractors in ten participating private truck fleets with different vocations, as well as with varying demographics in order to identify various ambient temperature and operating terrains. The monitoring devices will be divided equally among trucks with pre-emissions (before ’02) and post-’02-emissions standards engines. The study will also include some new 2007-emissions standard engines supplied by Caterpillar.
The telematics devices installed will use wireless technology to deliver data directly to First Fleet for evaluation. They will monitor fuel usage, driver performance, methods of operation, and the effect of truck specification and equipment technology on fuel consumption rates.
During the course of the fuel management study, First Fleet said it will announce timely results as significant benchmarks are achieved. At the end of the study—timed to coincide with the implementation of 2007 truck engine emissions standards—the company will issue a comprehensive report on the results, along with recommendations derived from the evaluation of the compiled data.