Increasing numbers of people across the globe are trying to incorporate green practices into their lives and workplaces. Have you considered steps to make your fleet green?
HOW TO MAKE YOUR FLEET GREEN
From 1990 to 2017, the volume of greenhouse gases produced by medium- and heavy-duty trucks in the United States grew by 89.5% — a total increase of 206 million metric tons. These emissions accounted for 436.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2017, the last year for which data is readily available.
Fortunately, the steep emissions spike in the trucking industry is reversible to a certain degree. Fleet operators can take several steps to make their fleets greener, including reducing petroleum use, creating driver training programs, using telematics, and performing strategic maintenance.
FUEL SAVINGS AND MANAGEMENT
You can improve fuel savings and management by taking the following steps.
- Reduce Idling: The longer your trucks spend idling, the more exhaust they produce and the more greenhouse gases they emit into the atmosphere. One hour of idling equates to about 33 miles of driving. If a truck is stationary, turn it off to reduce emissions and conserve fuel.
- Driver Training: It’s also a good idea to instruct drivers in green trucking practices. A few points to train drivers on include:
- Better route planning: Better route planning is crucial for making your fleet more efficient. Planning to follow the quickest, most logical route can help drivers avoid getting caught in back roads and detours. It can also help identify when the shortest route may have traffic on a congested highway. Using route data to get up-to-date information and help drivers figure out the most efficient routes can cut down on fuel usage and carbon emissions.
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- Green driving practices: When drivers change speeds frequently — often by hitting the gas and brakes in traffic — they burn large quantities of fuel. Training drivers to be aware of their acceleration habits, utilize regenerative braking, and maintain a stable speed helps them make more efficient use of fuel and lower their carbon emissions levels.
- Speed considerations: Even if drivers are conscientious about avoiding aggressive acceleration, driving at excessive speeds can burn more fuel and lead to higher rates of carbon emissions. Make sure your drivers know your company prioritizes efficiency rather than speed on the road. Encourage them to stick to the posted speed limit or below to help cut down on pollution.
- Improve Aerodynamics: The more aerodynamic your truck designs are, the less aerodynamic drag they will experience. Improving aerodynamics can also increase fuel efficiency. Look into ways to adjust your vehicles, like reducing their overall weight or using aerodynamic add-ons like streamlined mirrors, side skirts, and boat tails.
Telematics is a method of monitoring your fleet using GPS technology and onboard diagnostics. This technology provides the data you need to oversee your operations, address small issues before they grow, and develop and measure goals for your fleet. Telematics work through a sophisticated computer system. Each truck with telematics capabilities has an onboard computer. The computer reports relevant information from the truck, sending data about:
- Fuel consumption
- Idling time
- Tire pressure
This information comes from a small device — often known as a black box — that contains a SIM card and modem. You can use telematics data sent over the cellular network to make adjustments that streamline your fleet’s operations.
- Benefits of Using Telematics
Some of the benefits of using telematics for fleet management include improvements to the following areas:
- Fleet efficiency: Telematics allows you to monitor statistics like fuel usage and driving habits, which you can use to inform driver protocols. Over time, working to improve these metrics can help you increase your fleet’s fuel and route efficiency.
- Safety: With telematics, you can monitor which drivers engage in safe driving practices and which drivers have room to improve. You can also receive accident notifications and talk to your drivers in real time.
- Management: When you use telematics, you can manage your fleet more effectively. The data sent from your vehicles can help guide decision-making for route planning, fuel management, diagnostics, and maintenance scheduling.
- Customer service: Telematics also helps you optimize your customer service. Telematics data enables you to predict delivery times with greater precision and engage in efficient route planning to get goods to your clients sooner.
- Costs: Using telematics can also help cut down on operating costs. For example, when the Oklahoma State fleet adopted telematics, it reduced its annual fuel consumption costs from $1.87 million to $1.25 million. When the fleet considered fuel costs and maintenance costs, it saved, on average, $77 per truck per year.
Practicing regular preventative maintenance can also help your fleet professionals cut down on carbon emissions and keep the company green. Two maintenance areas to focus on include proper tire inflation and oil changes.
- Proper Tire Inflation: Properly inflated tires lead to much greater fuel economy than tires inflated to the wrong pressure. If a truck runs with its tires underinflated by 10 psi, the vehicle’s fuel consumption could rise by .5% to 1%. That increase may not seem like much, but it becomes substantial when multiplied by an entire fleet and thousands of miles. To combat this issue, drivers can perform regular inspections of their tires, and you can use telematics to evaluate tire pressure across your fleet.
- Oil Changes: Regular oil changes make a tremendous difference in fuel economy. Routine oil changes keep your trucks’ engines running smoothly and efficiently. An efficient engine uses less fuel and produces fewer carbon emissions than an engine that is in poor shape because it has missed oil changes.
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When you’re looking for solutions that can help your fleet be greener, let us be your trusted solutions provider. We offer solutions for improving your fleet’s fuel economy and reducing emissions, as well as tackling safety and productivity. Contact us today to learn more!