Fleetowner 2644 Conway Truckload Truck

Fleet fuel efficiency study rates 60 technologies, techniques

Feb. 21, 2012

TAMPA, FL. A major benchmarking study on fuel efficiency using data from Werner Enterprises, Frito Lay, C.R. England, Challenger Motor Freight, Schneider National, Con-Way Truckload, GTI and Ryder has been released by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE), a non-profit organization created to foster major improvements in the efficiency of freight movements.

The study compiles real fleet experience with 60 fuel-saving technologies and management practices divided into six categories: synthetic lubricants, tractor and trailer aerodynamics, anti-idling devices, tires and wheels, driver training and routing software. The data from the eight over-the-road fleets covered 30,000 tractors and 88,000 trailers running between 2003 and 2010, according to Mike Roeth, NACFE executive director. In 2010 alone, the eight fleets covered 3.1 billion mi. and consumed 496 million gals. of fuel.

The report doesn’t place percentage values on fuel savings, but rather tracks the adoption rates of the separate technologies and practices, classifying them as quickly adopted for 100% of a fleet, slowly adopted for 100%, currently ramping up to full adoption, started and stopped, or not purchased. This peer-based information on real experience can be used by the industry and its suppliers to identify the most effective technologies and techniques, according to Roeth.

“This is a ground-breaking, first-ever report that is beneficial to all fleets, large and small, plus owner-operators interested in reducing their operating costs and lowering their risk of adopting new technologies,” said Steve Phillips, senior vice president for operations of Werner Enterprises during a press conference called to announce the report’s release. “We can’t possibly keep up and test everything ourselves. We have to rely on networking efforts like this to provide a deeper dive than we could ever achieve ourselves.”

Also speaking at the press conference, Mike O’Connell, Frito Lay national senior director of fleet capability, pointed out that it gave his team the opportunity to get in-depth information on fuel efficiency strategies that work without wasting time chasing down that information fleet by fleet. “The economic value that this NACFE fuel efficiency study represents to us is significant as it provides specific ideas for execution,” he said.

The study is available as part of a $795 package (http:/academy.nacfe.org) that includes a download of the report, an online course covering the findings in depth, data sets on fleet adoption rates and access to a limited-audience webinar with the study team. The fee also includes one year membership to NACFE.

The group plans to expand the study by adding additional fleets and data from 2011, according to Roeth. 

“Being a newly created nonprofit, formed within the past two years, we are thrilled that our first major product is generating so much interest among the trucking industry,” he said. “Through our unbiased approach to aggregating information on fuel efficient technologies, we are adding direct value to the fleets’ bottom line and offering significant insights for suppliers and other organizations as they work in this field. We are receiving a number of accolades from the participating and other fleets wanting to join future studies to build on these findings.”

About the Author

Jim Mele

Nationally recognized journalist, author and editor, Jim Mele joined Fleet Owner in 1986 with over a dozen years’ experience covering transportation as a newspaper reporter and magazine staff writer. Fleet Owner Magazine has won over 45 national editorial awards since his appointment as editor-in-chief in 1999.

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