Trucking and the environment

April 27, 2017
It seems fitting on the heels of Earth Day and during Environmental Awareness Month to focus on some of the things trucking is doing to help the environment.

The three Rs — recycle, reuse, reduce — are the rallying cry of conservationists. It seems fitting on the heels of Earth Day (April 22) and during Environmental Awareness Month (April) to focus on some of the things the trucking industry is doing to help the environment.

Sure some of the strides the trucking industry has made to improve its fuel efficiency and lower NOx and particulate matter, and more recently reduce greenhouse gas emissions, started as government mandates. But savvy fleets are constantly striving to improve their fuel efficiency in a variety of ways,

Fleets who provided data for our Fleet Fuel Study are on average getting 7.06 mpg compared to the average fleet that gets 5.83. And remember that 7.06 is an average. Newer trucks in their fleets are getting better mileage than that. How do they do it? By investing in technologies and practices that reduce fuel consumption. And interestingly they do not all choose the same combination of technologies.

Our recently announced Run On Less, cross country fuel efficiency road show, is putting together a group of fleets and drivers that are hoping to demonstrate how real trucks loaded with real world freight can achieve 9.0 miles to the gallon.

NACFE has identified nearly 70 technology solutions and practices that can help fleets get better miles per gallon of diesel fuel. They include things like idle reduction products, automated transmissions, low rolling resistance tire, tire pressure systems, 6x2 axles, engine parameters, maintenance practices and more. Go to truckingefficiency.org for a complete rundown of these technologies as well as full Confidence Reports on most of the identified ways a fleet can improve its fuel efficiency.

The trucking industry does some other things to be green such as repurposes trailers into storage units, using remanufactured parts instead of new for service replacement, investing in alternative fuel vehicles, and more.

Environmental Awareness Month comes around only once a year, but we in trucking are tackling fuel efficiency improvements and greenhouse gas emissions 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There is something to be said for that kind of dedication.

About the Author

Michael Roeth | Executive Director

Michael Roeth has worked in the commercial vehicle industry for nearly 30 years, most recently as executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE). He serves on the second National Academy of Sciences Committee on Technologies and Approaches for Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles and has held various positions in engineering, quality, sales, and plant management with Navistar and Behr/Cummins.

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