Heavy-duty trucks play a vital role in our economy, but they also have a significant environmental footprint. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), transportation accounts for nearly one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Trucking specifically is responsible for 20 percent of those emissions.
There are many ways to make heavy-duty trucks more efficient and reduce their emissions. Here are seven steps that trucking fleets can take to maximize efficiency and reduce their environmental impact:
1. Use Aerodynamic Devices
Every truck has aerodynamic drag, which is the resistance created as the truck moves through the air. The larger the truck, the more drag it has. Adding fairings, side skirts, and other aerodynamic devices can help reduce drag and improve fuel economy by up to 15 percent. In addition, aerodynamics also helps keep the truck cooler, as combatting the effects of aerodynamic drag can put a lot of strain on heavy-duty engines. This lengthens your engine's lifespan, prevents unexpected breakdowns, and saves you a lot of money. To make things even better, aerodynamic devices will also increase the handling of your heavy-duty vehicle at high speeds.
2. Reduce Idling and Strengthen Driving Habits
Idling wastes fuel and emits harmful pollutants into the air. When a truck is idling, it’s getting zero miles per gallon. Fleets can reduce fuel consumption and emissions by implementing no-idle policies or installing auxiliary power units.
Fleets can also implement speed limiters, which help to reduce fuel consumption and emissions as engines have to work harder at high speeds. Truck drivers themselves also play a crucial role in saving fuel. They can do this by planning their routes ahead of time, avoiding traffic congestion, and keeping their vehicles well-maintained. Drivers should also avoid hard accelerations and brake smoothly to conserve fuel.
3. Maintaining Proper Tire Pressure
Under-inflated tires can reduce fuel economy by up to 15 percent. They also wear out more quickly, which means more frequent and expensive replacements. Truckers should check their tire pressure regularly and keep them inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended PSI at all times.
Are adequately inflated tires not doing a good enough job? Have you heard of low-rolling resistance tires? They can improve fuel economy by up to five percent. These tires are designed to reduce energy loss as the tire rolls. They’re more expensive than standard tires, but they can pay for themselves over time in fuel savings.
4. Use Fuel-Efficient Driving Techniques
Fuel-efficient driving techniques can help reduce fuel consumption by up to 35 percent. These include accelerating at a steady and careful rate, conservatively engine braking, keeping your engine’s RPMs under control, idling as little as possible, and avoiding high-speed maneuvers. Implementing these tips can help improve the fuel efficiency of your heavy-duty truck and save you money on fuel.
5. Ensuring Your EGR System is Properly Functioning
Your EGR system is responsible for limiting the number of nitrogen oxides produced by your engine. Although this system is very effective, it can malfunction if not properly maintained. Over time, due to carbon build-up, your EGR valve may stick open. This valve is responsible for controlling the flow of exhaust gasses. If this flow isn’t regulated, emissions increase, and your engine has to compensate. This compensation causes your engine to heat up, furthering emissions output.
6. Replace Fuel Filters
Your fuel filters are responsible for removing impurities from your diesel fuel. If these filters get clogged, your fuel injectors may malfunction. This causes your engine to work extremely hard to compensate and, as such, increases emissions output. Fuel filters should be changed every time you change your oil. Most diesel engines have two fuel filters, so be sure to replace them both.
7. Regular maintenance
Performing regular maintenance on your heavy-duty truck can improve fuel economy by up to four percent. Regularly checking and replacing air filters, glow plugs, fuel filters, and other engine components can help keep your engine running smoothly and efficiently for years to come. Outside of engine maintenance, maintaining your tires, brakes, and suspension are always great ways to make your truck more efficient. Take your suspension as an example. If it isn’t aligned correctly, you may be putting a lot of stress on your drivetrain, which in turn causes your truck to emit more emissions.
What are the benefits of maximizing truck efficiency and reducing emissions?
For trucking companies, there are many benefits to maximizing a truck’s efficiency and minimizing its environmental impact. These benefits include reduced fuel costs, enhanced driver productivity, and a smaller ecological footprint.
Trucking companies that adopt strategies to improve fuel economy will save a significant amount of money on fuel. The cost of diesel fuel is a significant expense for trucking companies, so even minor improvements in fuel economy can have a big impact on the bottom line.
There are many ways to improve the fuel economy of heavy-duty trucks. Some of these methods are simple and easy to implement, while others require more investment. But no matter what method you choose, improving the fuel economy of your heavy-duty trucks can lead to significant savings for your business. So, if you’re looking for ways to save money and improve your bottom line, consider implementing some of these fuel-saving tips for your heavy-duty trucks.