Fourteen fleets operating more than 53,000 tractors and 160,000 trailers achieved fuel savings of $477 million in 2014 by adopting a variety of fuel efficiency technologies, according to the Annual Fleet Fuel Study released by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE).
NACFE says these fleets represent a growing focus on fuel efficiency in the industry. The fleet improvements save $9,000 per year per truck, with an estimated payback period of two-and-a-half years, and reduce their carbon emissions by 19%.
This year's study found the adoption of fuel-saving technologies had increased from 18% in 2003 to 42% in 2014. As a result, the 14 fleets have achieved 7.0 mpg on average for all their trucks, while their 2015-model-year trucks have reached as high as 8.5 mpg. The report says that is well above the national average of 5.9 mpg, reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration.
According to the report, the 14 fleets included in the study achieved this high level of fuel efficiency by adopting a combination of nearly 70 currently available technologies and engaging the resources and guidance of Trucking Efficiency, a joint effort of NACFE and Carbon War Room (CWR).
“The dramatic improvement in fuel economy of the leading fleets this year is exciting,” says Mike Roeth, operation lead for CWR's Trucking Efficiency and executive director of NACFE. “If we can get the owners and operators of the 1.5 million tractor-trailers on the road today to invest in more of these technologies, we will see significant reduction in fuel consumption.”
According to the report, major trucking fleets like Con-way Truckload, Frito Lay and Schneider are actively pursuing fleet-wide fuel savings and seeing on-the-road results from adopting recommendations from Trucking Efficiency's Tech Guide and Confidence Reports on individual trucking technologies. Trucking Efficiency has completed Confidence Reports on tire pressure systems, 6×2 axles, idle reduction, transmissions, and engine parameters.
‘We have been aggressively pursuing fuel savings and freight efficiency for many years,” says Steve Hanson, director of fleet engineering at Frito Lay. ‘Through collaboration with tractor builders and aerodynamic-device and fuel-system suppliers, we are now able to get the aerodynamics we desire on our latest tractors. This will help us continue to increase our overall fleet-wide fuel efficiency.’
The report says Con-way Truckload, another exemplary fleet, saw major success in equipping 48% of its fleet with automated manual transmissions.
“We will continue to buy automated manual transmissions, as they are providing fuel savings and drivers appreciate their performance,” says Randy Cornell, vice president of maintenance and asset management at Con-way Truckload.
In addition to Con-way Truckload, Frito Lay and Schneider, the 2015 study also included United Parcel Service (UPS), Ryder System Inc., Werner Enterprises, Bison Transport, CR England, Challenger Motor Freight, Crete, Nussbaum, Paper Transport and Prime.
NACFE says that since 2011, the organization has conducted its Annual Fleet Fuel Study to report on innovative fleets that have committed to improving fuel efficiency. Fleets that participated in the study shared their implementation experiences, as well as best practices for using these technologies. NACFE says the study provides insights to help other fleets make decisions about adding these fuel efficiency technologies and practices in the future.
The full report can be downloaded at nacfe.org/projects.