Con-way Freight has announced it has turned back the speed governors on its trucks to run at a maximum of 62 miles per hour--down three MPH from previous settings--to improve fuel conservation and reduce carbon emissions.
According to the carrier, the move will save 3.2 million gallons of diesel fuel for its 8,400 tractors and eliminate 72 million lbs. of emissions per year.
"Freight transportation, by its nature, is a significant consumer of carbon-based energy resources. Yet it also is one where if we look creatively at how we operate the business, we can find and adopt practices that reduce our carbon footprint and help the bottom line,” said John G. Labrie, Con-way Freight president. "Fuel conservation and cost savings aside, this speed reduction initiative will have the single largest impact on carbon footprint reduction of any operational or business practice change available to us.”
“The plan was initially launched back in November, and it’s going over as well as we hoped with the drivers,” Con-way spokesman Gary Frantz told FleetOwner. He added that this was the first time the company had turned back speed governors, and that the company’s initial estimates for fuel savings have been bearing out so far.
The reasons for turning back speed governors are numerous. Besides the environmental benefits, there are also safety and monetary benefits to driving at a reduced speed—using less fuel saves fleets money, while less speeding usually leads to less accidents.
The American Trucking Research Institute (ATRI), the research arm of the American Trucking Assns. (ATA), did a study last year on the use of speed governors. According to the study, 69% of fleets responding used speed governors, with 81% of those using them on at least 90% of their vehicles.
Fleets that did not use governors cited safety concerns as the biggest factor, noting the difference in speed between trucks and automobiles as a potential danger, indicating that there is not universal agreement over whether governors are in fact safe.
Con-way Freight, a member of EPA’s SmartWay Transport Program since 2006, has already implemented emissions-saving practices such as aerodynamic fairings, using special engine and transmission lubricants, minimizing idling time, recycling and refurbishing used trailers, and converting its fuel sources to 100% ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, the company said.The carrier’s parent company, Con-way Inc., is introducing a program in 2008 to promote sustainability across its business units, the company noted.