Driving Green in the Trucking Industry

Sustainable practices designed to reduce gas consumption and emissions are now standard in many areas of the trucking industry. A combination of technical advances and driver training can make your trucking business greener whether you’re an independent contractor or running a large fleet.

Driver training is one of the simplest ways to lower gas consumption and reduce carbon emissions. How often your vehicle idles, the speed you drive, and your rote selection makes a significant impact on your truck’s sustainability.

Just how important driver efficiency is was driven home by a report from the American Trucking Associations’ Technology and Maintenance Council. When comparing the fuel efficiency of the least and most efficient drivers, the Council discovered a 35 percent difference.

Why are some drivers capable of more environmentally sustainable practices than others? The Council reported the most fuel efficient drivers had certain traits in common:

  • Cruise control was used whenever possible
  • Sudden hard braking and acceleration was kept to a minimum
  • They drove a high percentage of their trip in top gear
  • They limited the amount of time the truck idled
  • They maintained high, but not maximum, speeds.

Careful route selection is critical for greater fuel efficiency. The most effective drivers planned the shortest route possible, and limited left turns, which leave the idling to a minimum.

Speed is also a factor. While each truck is unique, fuel economy generally decreases at speeds over 50 to 55 miles per hour. A truck driving at a steady 55 miles per hour uses 28 percent less fuel than one driving at 75 miles an hour.

Regular tune-ups and optimizing trailer and tractor aerodynamics is also important, but on a day-to-day basis, sustainable driving practices are the one of the most efficient ways to reduce your fleet’s impact on the environment.

Fortunately, driver training can greatly improve fuel efficiency. A report by the European Commission found even a single day of driver training improved fuel efficiency by five percent. Training, incentives for fuel conservation, and practice all help your fleet operate at maximum efficiency. That’s good for the planet, and good for your bottom line.




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