The trucking industry has become a highly competitive environment over the years. This indicates that there are many opportunities for truckers to earn money. But it also means there will be fierce competition for the best routes and drivers.
As the industry continues to grow, so does its impact on the environment. Statistics show that US trucks are traveling 93 billion miles annually, most reach eight miles per gallon. It emits about six million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). Such numbers show how an important part of the country’s economy contributes heavily to its carbon footprint.
Meanwhile, a 2021 survey showed that 35% of carriers feel pressure to reduce carbon emissions. The main reason is that government regulations reprimand them as part of a massive move towards sustainable practices.
Since many trucking business owners are embracing this trend, it might be time for you to do the same. That way, you can keep up with the competition while promoting sustainability in the industry.
Here are five steps to make your trucking business more sustainable.
1) Use Eco-Friendly Fuel Sources
A truck’s fuel plays the most important role in its environmental impact, as diesel consumption produces tons of CO2. This means your trucking business can cut its carbon footprint if your fleet switches to something more efficient.
Finding an alternative source of fuel that doesn’t help the environment too much is very important. One option is biodiesel, a renewable fuel made from animal fats or vegetable oils. Another is ethanol, which comes from corn and other plant materials. You can also use compressed natural gas, which is more economical than diesel or gasoline.
You can also use diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) to reduce emissions from fossil fuels. An expert in engine parts refers to diesel cat converters as important in the emission system, breaking down pollutants into less dangerous elements to reduce their impact on the environment.
2) Optimize Route Plans
Route planning dictates the efficiency of your trucking business. This includes knowing the most reliable routes and the locations for transfers and drop-offs. Having good routes allows you to reduce delivery delays while reducing fuel consumption.
A great way to optimize route plans is with the help of a global positioning system (GPS). This tool allows dispatchers to monitor traffic situations in real-time, letting them reroute drivers to avoid jams.
If the driver gets lost, GPS can also help them by providing precise coordinates of their position. They don’t consume more fuel by wasting time on roads they don’t know.
3) Minimize Empty Miles
Speaking of wasting time, consider cutting out empty miles as well.
They refer to the mileage a vehicle spends without a load. When heavy-duty trucks are left idle, all the fuel they spend goes to waste. Every second that passes means more fuel is wasted and more emissions are released into the atmosphere.
To keep your fleet efficient, try to reduce empty miles by backhauling. It refers to the transportation of cargo from one main point to another rather than directly from origin to destination. This is a good idea for long hauls as it reduces fuel consumption, emissions, and running costs.
4) Teach Your Team About Truck Efficiency Skills
As the people behind the wheel, drivers play an important role in maintaining sustainability. How they operate the truck, how much time they put in, and how they drive affects the overall fuel consumption of your fleet.
Knowing this, teaching them about sustainability is a great way to get them involved in your efficiency efforts.
You can do this by providing your drivers with materials that discuss how they operate their trucks. This may include instruction manuals and flyers detailing best practices for fuel efficiency on the road.
5) Reduce Idle Times
Idle times refer to when a vehicle is not moving. This happens when a driver is at toll booths, at a rest stop, or warming up the engine before leaving. Over time, they can increase fuel costs.
Deductions can be difficult to make in these instances. But small, smart steps make it possible.
For example, you can use a geofencing tool to help your fleet find better routes. Another thing you can do is perform tire inspections to minimize wear and tear in the middle of transit. Doing these things allows you to optimize delivery times during gas savings.
Join Shift For The Future
Sustainability is becoming a major concern of many industries due to the crises we have witnessed in recent years. You risk running afoul of the law and the competition unless your trucking business catches on.
These steps are just the beginning of a steady progression toward sustainable, ethical, and forward-thinking business practices. Adopting them will help your trucking fleet stay competitive in an evolving industry.