Existing technologies can reduce fuel usage by nearly 30% for regional routes, creating immediate cost savings and air quality improvements, according to the Run on Less Regional Report, recently released by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE).
The report uses data from a demonstration drive with 10 trucking fleets and is the second in a series of tests showing that improving fuel efficiency is within reach for trucking fleets with off-the-shelf technologies. The report focuses on regional haul trucking, which is characterized by distances under 300 miles to and from a base, predictable routes, and frequent returns to base, particularly overnight.
Fuel costs are the second-highest operating cost for fleets and while reducing fuel costs provides immediate savings, it also means less air pollution, creating cleaner skies, particularly for low-income communities, which are disproportionately located near highways and major thoroughfares.
The trucking industry has shown itself to be an essential resource, particularly to support health care, the food system and e-commerce, as COVID-19 has changed the face of work and life in our world.
“Regional haul can no longer be treated as a complex minority part of goods’ movement. We now have a strong definition of this important market segment and understand its impact on two of trucking’s huge challenges – attracting drivers and adoption of battery electric trucks,” says Mike Roeth, executive director of NACFE.
With regional operations, drivers are more likely to get home on a regular basis, which could help the industry with its driver recruitment and retention problem. Regional operations are positioned to transition to alternative-fuel vehicles because adding infrastructure at the base for energy sources other than gasoline or diesel fuel is easier than the cross-country infrastructure that is needed for long haul trucking.
Despite the myriad of fuel efficiency technologies that are cost-effective to use, multiple barriers have stymied industry adoption. These include a lack of data about the true performance gains these technologies offer, as well as a lack of confidence in the payback for investment into these technologies. To overcome those barriers and facilitate the industry’s trust in and adoption of the most promising cleaner operating technologies, NACFE’s Run on Fewer tests and reports prove the value for efficiency, environmental benefits, and return on investment for fleets, notes the council.