This week on our Big Rig Banter podcast, we interviewed Rachel Muncrief, the Program Director for heavy-duty vehicles at the International Council of Clean Transportation (ICCT). The council’s mission is to enhance the environmental performance and energy efficiency of transportation vehicles in order to improve public health and combat climate change. During the episode, we discuss how retrofitting your vehicle as a truck driver can help you reduce your carbon emissions and improve your fuel efficiency. Read to get the scoop on how green transportation can save the planet while keeping money in your pocket!
Why is Clean Trucking Important?
The transportation sector contributes more CO2 emissions than any other industry, and trucks are responsible for about a quarter of these emissions. Due to the negative impacts of CO2 emissions on the environment, more companies are trying to decarbonize their vehicles.
In addition to the environmental costs of transportation, it’s also an incredibly expensive industry. Fuel is one of the largest monetary costs of trucking, and the price per gallon has continued to rise. In fact, a single long haul truck uses over $50,000 of diesel fuel in one year.
If drivers find a can reduce their fuel intake by just 1%, they could save up to $500 in just a year. If they reduce it by 10%, they could end up saving about $5,000 per year! This cost reduction would make transportation more profitable, which gives energy efficient shippers and carriers a competitive advantage over their negligent rivals.
There are several ways that drivers can alter their trucks to improve gas mileage and reduce their emissions. Though there will be initial costs, many of these devices will pay for themselves in less than two years! Some can take even less than a year. There are also various organizations that do independent device testing in order to prove these favorable payback rates.
Tips for Retrofitting Your Vehicle
The most common aerodynamic device for trucks is the trailer side skirt. These can help to reduce fuel consumption of long-haul drivers by 5%!
Tires and inflation systems
Investing in low-rolling resistance tires can help to reduce your fuel consumption by about 2%. Keeping your tires fully inflated at all times is also very important for improving the fuel economy of your truck. In fact, going 10 pounds per square inch (psi) below the recommended pressure can result in a 1% fuel penalty. Purchasing equipment such as automatic tire inflation systems can help you keep your tires full and your pockets fuller in the long run.
Idling wastes about a gallon of fuel per hour. That may not seem like a lot, but over that can add up to over 1,000 gallons burned in one year! In order to combat fuel loss from idling, you can look into auxiliary power units for cabs. There are also many truck stops that have electrification units, so you’ll have several options to prevent idling!
The SmartWay Program
There are other ways to track and improve your energy efficiency in addition to retrofitting your vehicle. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s SmartWay Program is a voluntary program that helps carriers and shippers track and share data about their emissions and fuel consumption. Shippers can use carrier data to pick the most efficient carriers. This program also provides free strategies for how shippers can improve their vehicle’s energy efficiency and reduce their carbon emissions. They have a lot of helpful information about the independent verification of technologies that we mentioned earlier. For these benefits and more, truckers should consider joining the SmartWay Program today!
Are there any tips for retrofitting your vehicle that we missed? Share them with us in the comments section below and stay tuned for more Big Rig Banter episodes!