In trucking, where every mile counts and each drop of fuel has a price, finding the best fuel-saving technology can help your business become more profitable. For trucking companies, regardless of size, the quest for efficiency is a constant one.
In this article, we’ll explore the top fuel-saving technologies available to trucking companies. Whether you’re running a small fleet or a larger operation, understanding these technologies can make a difference in your bottom line.
“After-market parts” refers to additional or upgraded parts you can install on your trucks after purchasing the vehicle.
Generally, trailer skirts, wheel cover kits, and other after-market parts can make your truck more aerodynamic by reducing drag. Innovations in these parts have made them lighter and less expensive over time.
If your company drives reefers and dry vans, reducing the gap between the back of the cab and the front of the trailer should be a priority, as this is a major source of drag. Newer technologies can deploy devices on trucks as they reach a certain speed to reduce drag.
Still, other after-market parts, such as exhaust manifolds and turbos can be upgraded to improve your fuel economy as well.
This might not be the newest technology, but it’s one of the most important innovations of the last decades.
An auxiliary power unit (APU) generates power for a truck’s air conditioning, heating, and appliances inside the cab. The main benefit of using an APU is to reduce idling, which can save a lot of money on fuel.
APUs can be diesel or battery-powered and are offered by companies such as Carrier, Thermo King, RigMaster Power, and Go Green APU. When shopping, here are a few points to keep in mind:
- State regulations on APUs: some states prohibit the use of diesel-powered APUs
- Maintenance costs: According to The Truckers Report forums, ThemoKing and Carrier offer models that are more expensive up front but save money in the long run due to the low cost of maintenance.
- Weight: diesel-powered APUs are typically much heavier than electric-powered models.
Can cruise control save fuel? Of course, the answer is “it depends”! The most experienced drivers may be able to save money by not using cruise control when operating older trucks. But new cruise control technology is about a lot more than just controlling speed.
Adaptive cruise control helps manage the distance between the truck and the vehicles in front of it by controlling acceleration and deceleration accordingly. This could improve fuel efficiency by limiting the amount of breaking and quick acceleration by drivers.
However, not all cruise control systems are created equal. Older versions of this technology may not use fuel in the most efficient way. The best thing you can do is to test it. This is easy enough if you’re the driver. If you’re not, some ELDs are able to pull data on fuel consumption. Be sure to test under similar conditions (weather, terrain, etc.)
Some types of trucks come with predictive powertrain control (PPC), which takes automation a step further by considering terrain, road conditions, and traffic. Even on routes you or your drivers know well, PPC can help limit unnecessary braking and gear shifting to use fuel more efficiently. PPC is available in some Mercedes-Benz and Mack trucks, but this type of technology is becoming more common.
Yet another innovation in the fuel-saving space is Taxen’s iQ-Cruise™, described as an “intelligent adaptive cruise control system”. Traxen claims the program can improve fuel efficiency by 10% on average.
Whether you’re talking about telematics, a fleet management system, or a trucking management system (TMS), all these terms describe a similar concept. They are tools that collect and organize data, including GPS, equipment information, driver behavior, fuel consumption, and information from the hardware and software on your trucks.
Often provided by ELD companies, these systems are designed to improve safety and efficiency in a fleet and often claim savings in fuel as a main benefit.
One well-known telematics provider is Verizon Connect, which provides truck GPS, trailer tracking, dashcams, and ELDs to fleets. They claim their platform can help with compliance, driver retention, and track fuel costs.
Another example more specific to fuel is Motive’s Fuel Hub, which brings together data to help you track your fleet’s fuel consumption, and monitor driver behavior and truck performance. It shows data on your miles per gallon, idling rate, and distance traveled using cruise control.
Fuel Card Platforms
Until recently, fuel cards were primarily used to get discounts on fuel only. The platforms that come with these cards, if they existed at all, typically didn’t provide a lot of visibility about how much fuel was being purchased, at what price, and what discounts were applied.
This poses a big problem to trucking business owners, who need to be able to see and control fuel spending carefully and ensure profitability.
So, we decided to do something about these outdated systems. The Bobtail Zero Mastercard® is a zero-fee fuel program designed to empower carriers to take control of their fuel consumption and save money.
With Bobtail Zero, you get an intuitively designed platform for monitoring your fuel expenses and keeping tight control over cards. Every transaction is visible on the platform, along with information about any applicable discounts.
The best part? Using Bobtail Zero comes at no cost to you! We don’t charge any fees at all for applying to or using the program. Apply today to Bobtail Zero – approval can take just 5 minutes!
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