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Begin your fuel efficiency journey with this one small step

Dec. 19, 2018
To drive with fuel efficiency in mind, you don’t have to do everything. Just start with one thing.

The NACFE team has been out and about in the industry lately. Whether it was attending industry events, speaking at state trucking associations or meeting with fleets and manufacturers, we spend a lot of time this year talking about improving fuel economy.

I was talking to Dave Schaller, NACFE’s industry engagement director, and he mentioned that he met with one fleet manager who was very embarrassed about his fleet’s fuel economy numbers.

No matter what your fleet’s average fuel economy number is, there is no need to be ashamed of it. The thing to feel badly about is not beginning to make a decision to do something about it.

I know that often in this space I have invoked the seven fleets that were in Run on Less by NACFE and held them up as icons of freight efficiency. And they are. However, while NACFE wants to help those fleets that are already at double-digit fuel economy continue to improve, our real goal is to raise the fuel economy numbers of every single fleet in North America.

Whether your fleet’s fuel efficiency is at the national average of around 6 mpg — heck even if it is below that — or closer to our NACFE fleet (from our 2018 Annual Fleet Fuel Study) level of 7.3 mpg, there are things you can do to start taking steps to make improvements even if those improvements seem like baby steps.

Remember Las Tzu’s quote? "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

When it comes to fuel economy we can change that to “the journey to 10.1 mpg begins with the purchase of one trailer skirt, low rolling resistance tire, automated manual transmission, APU/battery HVAC or by spending a few minutes training your drivers to drive with fuel efficiency in mind. You don’t have to do everything; just do one thing.

If you are not sure where to begin your fuel efficiency journey, just ask us. We’ll be happy to help. But I can tell you that when it comes to fuel economy it does not really matter where you start. What counts is where you finish.  I’ve never been much for New Year’s resolutions, but if that helps, make one around improving your fuel efficiency.

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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