I was happy to see the news that the EPA now has a SmartWay designation for day cabs. Just to refresh your memory a SmartWay designation means a vehicle meets environmental and fuel efficiency standards.
The reason I think this is a good move is that we are seeing growth in regional haul operations as fleets respond to drivers’ desire to be home more frequently and also because of the e-commerce boom that is changing freight distribution. If this sector, which is largely served by day cabs, continues to grow we want to see it populated with vehicles that are getting the most miles out of a gallon of fuel.
Sam Waltzer, SmartWay technology team lead with EPA’s Technology Assessment Center, said SmartWay partner fleets are using SmartWay aerodynamics and tire packages on their day cabs. The new designation encourages the use of idle-reduction technologies but does not require them. Idling is less of an issue in regional haul as many drivers return to base each day.
The timing of this announcement is perfect given that we are gearing up for Run on Less Regional this fall. Our goal is to benchmark the best of the best in fuel economy in the regional haul segment. When we completed the first Run on Less fuel-economy demonstration, we were able to show the world that real trucks operating in the real world could consistently average 10.1 MPG.
While we have not set a specific target — with Run on Less 2017 we went into it hoping for 9 MPG — we are confident that the 10 fleets participating in Run on Less Regional will put up decent fuel economy numbers during the three weeks of the Run. We will share daily results with you from our website and also expect the drivers will be sharing some of their tips for getting the most out of a gallon of fuel in what can be a challenging duty cycle given that much of the time is spent on secondary and local roads and in congested environments.
We are currently cataloging the specs of the trucks that will be participating in the Run and will soon share that information with you. All the devices and technologies on the trucks have to be commercially available, and I am guessing some of the vehicles will be outfitted with some of the SmartWay verified components.
It’s good that the industry as a whole is recognizing the growth of regional haul and the need for us to focus some of our attention on making it as fuel-efficient as the better known long haul segment.
Here at NACFE, we are all about freight efficiency no matter what the duty cycle.