*Image courtesy of Navistar
We’re all about continuous improvement here at Thunder Funding and we encourage all the fleets and owner operators we work with to assess what’s working -- and, what could be improved -- in their operations. With talks about the potential impacts of tariffs on Chinese imports, lower oil prices and a global economic slowdown threatening order cancellations, the industry has every reason to be more mindful of how we can be proactive should we get hit by a sector recession in the coming years.
So, in the spirit of minimizing waste and reducing operating costs, let’s talk about fuel efficiency in commercial trucks. Here are a few tips to help you jumpstart your cost-saving initiatives:
1. Automated Manual Transmissions: AMTs use a computer to shift the manual transmission at the optimal time, which allows fleets to enjoy an average 1–3% improvement in fuel economy over time. They are much easier to drive than manual transmissions because they eliminate the manual shifter and clutch. As a result, the industry has seen lower driver turnover (because who wouldn’t want a truck that’s easier to drive?), which in turn reduces recruiting and training costs.
2. Tire Monitoring/Inflation Systems: More and more fleets are investing in tire monitoring and/or inflation systems to help keep their fleet’s tires inflated to their proper pressure. When a tire is under-inflated by as little as 10 psi, research has shown there is up to a 1% increase in fuel consumption. Some of these systems do require driver intervention to re-inflate the tires while others will do so automatically. An added bonus to properly inflated tires is longer tire and tread life as well as fewer roadside breakdowns.
3. Solar Panels: There is a growing interest in solar panels among fleet managers because batteries alone are not able to meet the power needs of today’s trucks. Solar panels designed for the trucking industry are flexible, thin, and lightweight. The extra power available from solar panels can augment that coming from the alternator. This helps maintain the batteries at a higher average state of charge, thus extending battery life. Solar panels can also be used to provide additional current and battery charging capacity to help manage refrigeration units, electric liftgates, and telematics devices.
4. Driver Training: Truck drivers play a massive role in how efficiently a truck performs. Depending on how they drive, truck drivers can impact overall fuel efficiency by up to 30%. Whether they accelerate quickly or slowly, how they brake, and how much time they spend idling are just a few of the factors that can impact fuel consumption. Ongoing driver training and monitoring driver scorecards are crucial to ensuring all your drivers understand the importance of driving do’s and don’ts and its impact on the bottom line.
What are you doing to optimize fuel efficiency and decrease operating costs?
Be sure to check out our blog for more trucking industry news and trends from the team at Thunder Funding!