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Fleets invest in technologies that lead to a cleaner future

May 17, 2021
Does your operation use the latest tech? Find out how other companies are improving fuel economy and safety with simple investments.

The trucking industry has been doing its part in recent years to lower emissions and improve the fuel efficiency of the trucks on the road. We’ve all recognized that trucking has a role to play in a cleaner future.

That’s why I was very interested to read the section on sustainability in the National Private Truck Council’s Benchmarking Survey Report 2020. According to the report, 85% of the private fleets responding to the survey indicated they are making investments in green initiatives.

About 75% of the fleets are investing in idle reduction technologies, up from about 65% in 2019. Idling wastes fuel, pure and simple. However, we can’t just tell drivers to shut off the engine when the truck is not moving, especially if the driver is taking their mandated break in the sleeper.

The good news is that there are a fair number of idle reduction technologies on the market that when coupled with some commonsense practices like pre-cooling the truck before shutting it down for the evening, parking in the shade, etc., can keep drivers comfortable and in some cases provide them with the power they want and need to operate their personal electronic devices.

About 70% of the fleets responding to the survey indicated they are governing speed.

“Those fleets that employed speed governance indicated they governed speed on the pedal at slightly more than 66 mph, the same as what fleets reported for the last two years, while speed control on cruise was set at an average of 68 mph,” the report said.

Governing speed is not only good for the environment, but speed has been shown to be a major factor in many fatal accidents involving trucks, so in theory, limiting speed should help fleets be safer as well. Helping the environment AND improving safety is a great combination.

Trailer skirts rounded out the top three areas in which fleets are being more environmentally responsible.

The survey also looked at alternative power for commercial vehicles. At this point, only 6% of the survey respondents said their trucks were powered by something other than diesel. However, there was an uptick on fleets that have electric or hybrid vehicles. While the percentage is still pretty small, the numbers are up from 2019 and I suspect next year we will see even higher percentages as results of more pilot projects with electric and hybrid vehicles report out on how these powerplants performed in the real world.

Another big finding of the report was that average fuel economy for the surveyed fleets was 7.02 mpg up from 6.7 mpg in 2019. According to NPTC, this marks the first time the average mpg was over 7 mpg and is the highest fuel-economy level in the history of the survey.

Great job on the part of private fleets to make the investments needed to make their operations more “green.” All of us can learn from their example.

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