Logistics company Transplace surveyed 65 shipper and carrier fleets through the EPA’s SmartWay Fleet Program to get a strong sense of how fleet efficiency metrics can be approved. Here are five measures that meet or exceed expectations for surveyed fleets:
• Weight Reduction – The EPA figures that every 10% reduction in truck loads can reduce fuel use by 5% to 10%. Common ways to achieve this include using cast-aluminum alloy wheels, downsizing to lighter engines and using aluminum cab frames.
• Reducing Highway Speed – Estimates suggest that a long-haul truck that reduces its top speed from 65 miles per hour (MPH) to 60 MPH can save more than 1,200 gallons of fuel annually, cutting costs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
• Progressive Shifting – This involves another fuel reduction technique — changing gears as early as possible while accelerating. It is one of the practices used by J.B. Hunt Transport, which has received several SmartWay Excellence awards for its fleet innovations.
• Intermodal Shipping – This is a strategy employed heavily by Sharp Electronics, which sends approximately 15 percent to 18 percent of products – from televisions to solar panels – by rail. It also uses electric forklifts in distribution centers and keeps terminals open at night, using motion sensors to help reduce idle times.
• Trailer Side Skirts – “We were told we would get between 2.5 percent to 5 percent increase in fuel savings, and we are seeing 3 percent currently,” one Transplace survey respondents commented. “These have been installed on new trailers since 2010.”