Increase Efficiency To Offset Rising Costs

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The trucking industry is facing increased costs from nearly every angle, including labor, interest rates, equipment expenses, insurance and more. Although operational costs per mile are trending upward, the freight market remains soft, making it difficult for fleets to raise rates. As a result, fleets have to focus on managing costs.

There are several ways fleets can increase efficiency and optimize their expenses.

Spec the Optimal Vehicle: Spec’ing the right vehicle for the application is critical. It improves overall efficiency and fuel economy while also reducing operating costs and the risk of mechanical failures. Utilizing data (including information from the engine control module such as average trip speed, the gear ratio and engine horsepower) can give fleets insight into how a vehicle is utilized.

Increase Fuel Efficiency: Fuel is one of the top costs fleets experience, and even pennies per gallon add up. Increasing fuel efficiency and minimizing fuel consumption create significant cost savings. Advanced engine technologies, such as improved combustion efficiency, reduced friction and optimized gear ratios, can improve fuel efficiency. Transmission technologies, such as automated manual transmissions (AMTs), can also enhance fuel economy by ensuring the engine operates in its most efficient range. Additionally, certain tires, such as low-rolling-resistance tires, can drive further fuel efficiency savings.

Focus on Aerodynamics: The aerodynamic design of a truck significantly impacts fuel economy, and EPA-verified aerodynamic devices can save fuel by minimizing aerodynamic drag and maintaining smoother airflow. The North American Council for Freight Efficiency has identified dozens of technologies and best practices to improve freight efficiency.

Use Quality Fuel: The energy content of the fuel directly impacts fuel efficiency, and fuels with higher energy content release more energy when combusted. If there are issues with fuel such as contamination, a low cetane rating or high sulfur, the fuel economy can drop.

Cut Down on Idling: An idling Class 8 truck can consume one gallon of fuel each hour and create more wear and tear on the engine. NACFE reported that the average truck idles about 1,000 hours a year, and the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that each year, long-duration truck idling consumes one billion gallons of fuel. Auxiliary power units — whether battery or diesel-powered —reduce idling, which reduces fuel consumption, increases engine life and improves driver comfort.

Reduce Downtime: Downtime due to equipment issues can create direct and indirect costs for fleets. Proactive preventive maintenance can help fleets address issues before they become significant problems.

Increase Back-Office Efficiency: Licensing vehicles, completing fuel tax reporting and complying with Department of Transportation audits can be complex processes. Tapping into a third party that can provide support can help free up back-office staff within the fleet while ensuring all requirements are met.

Let Penske Help

There are several ways leasing with Penske can help fleets increase efficiency and manage costs. To learn more about how Penske can help you spec the right vehicle, get ahead of fuel costs, improve maintenance, and streamline regulatory compliance, contact us today.