Carbon Neutrality Is Shaping the Fleets of the Future

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Achieving carbon neutrality is becoming an increasingly popular goal. Between countries announcing carbon neutrality goals in the next decade and some of the world’s largest companies like Lyft, DHL, Ikea, BMW, John Deere, and Daimler making bold commitments about achieving carbon neutrality, reducing carbon emissions is becoming an essential part of operations.

According to TheClimateGroup.org, “The transport sector is the fastest-growing contributor to climate change, accounting for 23% of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.” Because of this shift to carbon neutrality, those same companies that are making carbon neutrality goals are going to have to consider the fleets they choose to move their products. Essentially, your company becomes a part of their wider goals, and to reach those companies that are the most devout in their carbon goals, your fleet has to reduce their carbon footprint.

Short of converting your entire fleet to electric vehicles, these are some key steps to making your entire fleet more carbon friendly:

Improve the Fleet

  1. Tire monitoring/inflation systems: Underinflated tires can increase fuel consumption by 0.5% to 1% when a tire is underinflated by as little as 10 psi. Installing tire pressure-monitoring systems can greatly reduce the fuel wasted, and therefore the emissions of your vehicles.
  2. Trailer skirts: Also called fairing, trailer skirts are the most popular devices for addressing aerodynamic drag on trailers, making them more efficient.
  3. Trailer tails: The flat back of a trailer is one of the biggest contributors to aerodynamic drag on a trailer. Tails cut that drag and can show amazing results in MPGs.
  4. Solar panels: Installing solar panels on trailers can greatly reduce the amount of fuel needed to keep critical systems like a refer unit or liftgate operating, without putting additional strain on an engine.
  5. Low rolling resistance tires: Low-rolling resistance tires are making huge impacts on fuel efficiency. Rolling resistance encompasses 30% to 33% of the total fuel cost of a Class 8 truck, so fleets are switching to low-rolling resistance tires in large numbers.
  6. Electronic engine parameters: Gains in fuel economy of as much as 8% can be made when a fleet optimizes the vehicle’s electronic engine parameters.
  7. Driver training: The driver plays the biggest role in how efficiently a truck operates. In some cases, the driver is responsible for as much as 20% to 30% of overall fuel efficiency. Many companies are using technology like PedalCoach, which works like a FitBit for the gas pedal to track and reward drivers for fuel-efficient driving.

VEHICLE Maintenance

Vehicle maintenance is critical to fuel efficiency, but even your maintenance programs can be a factor in your carbon footprint. Vehicle maintenance is a necessary factor in operating a fleet because nothing is worse than a vehicle being out of service due to a major mechanical failure that could have been prevented. Regularly scheduled maintenance keeps your fleet running at its peak performance, but it doesn’t have to be a source of more carbon emissions.

REDUCING Waste

The final piece of the carbon neutrality puzzle comes from the last place fleet operators think to look: the dumpster. Everything you throw away that ends up in a landfill ultimately creates carbon emissions somewhere. An “average” ton of waste diverted from a landfill equals an estimated 2.5 metric tons of carbon emission reduction. So, every ton recycled means less carbon credit needed to offset your carbon footprint.

In addition, recycling used tires, pallets, construction and renovation waste, hazardous waste, electronic waste, and all waste fluids not only reduces the risks associated with improper waste handling, but will also reduce your annual spend. Recycling done right is always cheaper than throwing everything into a landfill.

Companies across the globe are actively moving toward a reduction and elimination of their carbon footprint, and the logistics and transport industry is going to be affected the most. The time to get the ball rolling on carbon neutrality is now.

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