The trucking industry has become a highly competitive environment in recent years. This suggests that there are plenty of opportunities for truckers to earn money. But it also means that there will be fierce competition for the best routes and drivers.
As the industry continues to grow, so does its environmental impact. Statistics reveal that US trucks travel about 93 billion miles annually, most going eight miles per gallon. This releases almost six million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). Such numbers show how an essential part of the nation’s economy contributes so much to its carbon footprint.
Meanwhile, a 2021 survey showed that 35% of carriers feel pressured to minimize carbon emissions. The main reason is that government regulations reprimand them as part of a massive move to sustainable practices.
Since many trucking business owners are adopting this trend, it may be time for you to do the same. That way, you can keep up with the competition while advancing 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 significant 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 fuel source that doesn’t contribute too much to the environment is crucial. 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 may also use compressed natural gas, which is more cost-effective than diesel or gasoline.
You may also use a diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) to reduce emissions from fossil fuels. An expert in engine parts defines diesel cat converters as essential to the emission system, breaking down pollutants into less harmful elements to reduce their environmental impact.
2) Optimize Route Plans
Route planning dictates the efficiency of your trucking business. This involves knowing the most dependable routes and the locations for transfers and drop-offs. Having good routes lets you reduce delivery delays while cutting fuel consumption.
An excellent way to optimize route plans is through 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 loses their way, GPS can also help them by providing accurate coordinates of their position. They won’t consume more fuel by wasting time along roads they don’t know.
3) Minimize Empty Miles
Speaking of wasting time, consider cutting empty miles as well.
These refer to the mileage that a vehicle spends without a load. When heavy-duty trucks are left without hauls, all the fuel they expend goes to nothing. Each passing second of this means more fuel going to waste and more emissions released into the atmosphere.
To keep your fleet efficient, try minimizing empty miles through backhauling. This refers to taking freight from one key point to another rather than directly from origin to destination. It’s a good idea for long hauls because it reduces fuel consumption, emissions, and operational costs.
4) Educate Your Team On Truck Efficiency Practices
As the people at the wheel, drivers play an essential role in maintaining sustainability. How they operate the truck, how many hours they put in, and how they drive affect the overall fuel consumption of your fleet.
Knowing this, educating them about sustainability is an excellent way to get them on board with your efficiency efforts.
You can do this by providing your drivers with materials discussing how they manage their trucks. These can include instruction manuals and flyers detailing the best practices for fuel efficiency on the road.
5) Reduce Idle Times
Idle times refer to when a vehicle is not moving at all. This occurs when a driver is at toll booths, at a rest stop, or warming up the engine before departure. Over time, they can rack up fuel costs.
Reducing these instances may be difficult to pull off. But small, smart steps make it possible.
For example, you can use a geofencing tool to help your fleet find more efficient routes. Another thing you can do is conduct tire inspections to reduce breakdowns in the middle of transit. Doing these things lets you optimize delivery times while saving gas.
Join The Shift For The Future
Sustainability is becoming the primary concern of many industries in light of the crises we have witnessed throughout the years. You risk running against legislation and competition unless your trucking business catches up.
These steps are just the beginning of a steady progress toward long-term, ethical, and forward-thinking business practices. Adopting them will help your trucking fleet remain competitive in an evolving industry.