In an interesting development this week, Transplace Logistics released results from their long-term study of EPA-backed fuel efficiency standards designed to save money for trucking fleets. The overall result? Gadgets and bolt-on solutions aren’t much of a match for a skilled and conscientious truck driver.
Having said that, we don’t mean to give the impression that technical solutions to efficiency won’t ever work. Many do and excellent new ideas are coming out all the time. But the biggest ratio of savings to a fleet’s bottom line came in the form of four factors:
- Speed control
- Progressive Shifting
- Higher Quality Truck Driver Training
- Truck Driver Recognition and Company Incentives
In other words, take the time to train your drivers well, make them feel appreciated and reward them for a job well done after being safe on the highways and your fleet will end up wasting way less. Somehow we wonder if fleet owners are more surprised than truck drivers are at this conclusion. Saving money is important to all carriers, but so many of the EPA standards are difficult and expensive for smaller companies to comply with.
Other results from the study took note of some bolt-on efficiency solutions that helped reduce fleet costs above expectations:
- Low Rolling Resistance Tires
- Aerodynamic Mirrors
- Nitrogen Filled Tires
- Trailer Skirts
The fleets surveyed ranged in number of tractors from 0 to 150 (12 carriers) up to 1501+ (15 carriers). By number of trailers, the smallest range was 0 to 300 (12 carriers) all the way up to 6001+ (8 carriers).
“We designed this survey, which grew out of the PepsiCo sustainability team, with key input from leading shippers and carriers such as PepsiCo, Con-way, J.B. Hunt and Western Express,” said Ben Cubitt, senior vice president, consulting and engineering, Transplace. “We will continue our commitment to this initiative by investing engineering resources to include more carriers in the survey, continuing to update and modify the survey, and conducting additional analysis in focus areas.”