Point of view: 1st steps towards reducing fleet carbon emissions

By Daniel Burrows

The transportation industry is looking closely at its sustainability practices as customers, partners, investors and other stakeholders demand greater responsibility for reducing emissions.

Daniel Burrows, founder and CEO of TruckLabs

The transportation sector is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and there is a growing demand for freight transportation. But unlike passenger vehicles and delivery vans, electric solutions are still in the incubation stage for long-haul trucking. A recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change noted that long-haul trucks “are expected to be more difficult to electrify in the absence of technological breakthroughs” and that “the rapid and large-scale deployment of technology improved low-carbon emissions is a critical component” to address climate change mitigation by 2030. Rising fuel costs nationwide have increased the need for fleets to reduce their fuel consumption.

How can we transform fleets to be more sustainable now without compromising service and profits? By investing less in your people and technology, fleet owners can start making meaningful progress toward their sustainability and fuel economy goals today, while preparing for the future of electric vehicles.

Invest in emission reduction technologies

When it comes to reducing your fleet’s emissions, you need to start by taking a holistic view of your trucks – the cab, the tires, the trailer, and even the empty spaces around the vehicle.

There are a host of new emission-reducing technologies available today that ensure proper tire pressure, reduce rolling friction, improve aerodynamics and reduce energy consumption in the cabin. These technologies improve the efficiency of all types of fuel, including electricity when it becomes widely available in long-haul trucking.

While many of these technologies have proven beneficial, the upfront cost can be difficult for many fleets to overcome, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. It’s important to remember that no change is too small when it comes to reducing your company’s carbon footprint and saving fuel. With fuel being one of the highest costs facing fleets today, any amount of fuel saved can have a significant impact on your bottom line.

Having a plan in place for your fleet to perform these technology upgrades on a few trucks at a time and then scaling those improvements over a few years can make these investments much more feasible. Installing these technologies, even on a small scale, is often accompanied by a marked reduction in fuel costs and a rapid return on investment, leading to lower carbon emissions in the first 10 months.

“It’s important to remember that no change is too small when it comes to reducing your company’s carbon footprint and saving fuel.”

Daniel Burrows

Collaborate with your drivers and encourage

Industry experts claim that a driver can have up to 30% impact on energy efficiency, making that driver a key player in your organization’s sustainability strategy. From driving slower to using cruise control and reducing braking, there are a host of ways drivers can maximize their fuel efficiency and, in turn, reduce their carbon emissions, according to the American Truck Business Services.

In addition to sharing driving best practices with their staff, many fleets are also adopting new in-cab technologies to help train and incentivize drivers to improve their fuel efficiency. By providing accurate measurement and feedback on fuel-impacting factors such as load, weather and traffic, these innovations provide drivers with personalized and achievable goals.

By tapping into the expertise of your team, you will be positioned to maximize your organization’s environmental impact.

Support green legislation in transport

Truck makers today face delays due to chip shortages and other factors as they strive to develop more efficient vehicles. Modernizing your existing fleet allows you to optimize your fuel efficiency without having to wait for new trucks to be built.

Yet for many fleets, investing in truck upgrades can seem out of reach and unaffordable. With cost being a barrier for diesel fleets, it should be noted that legislation could ease the financial burden.

Economic incentives have played a role in environmental protection and pollution control on a broad level. There is a federal tax credit of $7,500, for example, for electric passenger vehicles that has been available since 2008. It is long overdue to consider financial incentives to help the trucking industry become greener .

A recent proposal is a bipartisan bill called the Support for Trucking Efficiency and Emissions Reduction (STEER) Act. Introduced by U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., the proposal would establish a voucher program to help truckers purchase and install fuel-efficient technologies on Class 8 trucks, which would help ease the financial burden on fleet owner-operators.

With federal incentives, fleets will be able to recoup much of the unit cost, shortening the time it takes to get a return on investment. The vouchers will also provide fleets with options to choose the best way to reduce emissions without a mandate.

Converting long-haul trucks to electric is expected to take at least another decade because the technology is still immature and expensive. But in the wake of rising diesel prices and growing demand for “greener” practices, fleets cannot afford to wait for more sustainable solutions. By harnessing the resources available to fleets today – including emissions reduction technologies and green legislation in transportation – and taking small steps, fleets can begin to see substantial improvements in their emissions levels. of carbon and their bottom line in just a few years.

Daniel Burrows is the founder and CEO of TruckLabs, a trucking technology company that uses a team of hardware engineers, software developers and data scientists to innovate products and software design to help fleets be more efficient and profitable.

Comments are closed.