Reducing your carbon footprint is good for the environment for many reasons, but it’s also good for business. Consuming less fuel directly translates to reduced operational costs, contributing to increased profitability. Regulatory and emission standards are ramping up in many regions anyway, so why not begin doing all you can to lessen your environmental impact?
Here are five practical ways any fleet can reduce its carbon footprint and lower fuel expenses.
1. The Right Tires Make All the Difference
Improving fuel efficiency by just a tenth of a percent can make a big difference to your bottom line. That’s why switching to SmartWay-verified, low-rolling-resistance (LRR) tires is an effective solution for fleets looking for improved fuel efficiency.
The EPA reports that certain SmartWay tires can reduce emissions and fuel use by at least 3%, relative to the best-selling new tires for line haul Class 8 tractor-trailers. These improvements are achieved when verified LRR tires are installed on all tractor and trailer axle positions and when all tires are properly inflated.
2. Telematics and Routing Efficiency
According to recent updates to the Tire Pressure Systems Confidence Report, released by the North American Council on Freight Efficiency (NACFE), running on properly inflated tires could yield annual savings between $750 and more than $1,000 per vehicle per year. To help monitor tire pressure, FleetPulse, Great Dane’s standard telematics offering, provides real-time tire inflation information, providing increased efficiency, cost-savings, and safety.
Other FleetPulse data that can significantly reduce a vehicle’s carbon footprint includes door sensors that can help prevent potential thermal efficiency losses. Additional sensors that provide insight for running a more sustainable and efficient fleet include axle weight sensors and GPS.
“In my mind, one of the most direct opportunities for fuel efficiency is having fewer trucks on the road through better asset utilization,” said Chris Lee, Great Dane’s Vice President of Engineering. “If a trip or two can be saved, it will probably have a greater impact on your carbon footprint than the accumulative savings provided by fuel-saving devices. FleetPulse’s insight on tether status can play a major role in helping fleets optimize their routes.”
3. Weighing In on an Important Subject
Trailer manufacturers like Great Dane are constantly identifying new ways to maximize strength and durability with the lowest possible weight for increased vehicle fuel efficiency and payload capacity. For example, Great Dane’s Freedom LT steel-aluminum combo flatbed features an exceptionally strong yet lightweight one-piece main beam.
4. An Electrification Engagement
One of the most effective ways to reduce a vehicle’s carbon footprint is to eliminate engine emissions. Many fleets are swapping their diesel trucks for all-electric powertrains, and now electrification efforts can even be found on trailers.
For instance, Great Dane has proven its trailers can be outfitted with electrification technology such as ConMet eMobility’s PreSet Plus eHub solution. This in-wheel electrification system transforms kinetic energy into useable power that can be delivered to auxiliary systems, such as an electric TRU, or for charging the system’s battery.
5. The Aerodynamics Advantage
Don’t overlook aerodynamic devices for reducing your fleet’s carbon footprint, especially features like side skirts that have been proven to provide up to 3-9% fuel savings.
“Aerodynamic mud flaps are a great place to start, and they may be even more effective in fuel savings when used in combination with side skirts or other devices,” Lee says.
Many fleets will find their sustainability efforts align with lowering costs, making reducing their carbon footprint a win-win for forward-thinking fleet managers.
DRIVING PRACTICES FOR CARBON REDUCTION
Here’s a tip that has nothing to do with equipment:
Educate your drivers on fuel-efficient driving practices. Driver training programs can be worth their weight in gold. A well-trained driver can help fleets save fuel and money while reducing emissions and increasing driver safety.
Training should involve:
Explaining how fuel economy is reduced by idling.
Shifting gears frequently or improperly and accelerating or braking aggressively or frequently.
Some fleets opt to offer their drivers incentive programs designed to help reduce fuel and operating costs. For example, encouraging smooth acceleration, controlled braking, and maintaining optimal speeds can significantly improve fuel efficiency.