April Uptime Tips - Emissions Check-in your truck

Environmental Action Can Make Good Business Sense for Fleet Operators

Commercial fleet operators have several reasons to be concerned about emissions. Some U.S. states and Canadian provinces have strict standards and require annual emissions testing, and even those with few regulatory hurdles to contend with may be worried about the impact that their fleets are having on the environment. While transporting heavy cargo by road will likely involve trucks powered by large diesel engines for the foreseeable future, there are steps that fleet operators can take to curb their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and reduce the size of their carbon footprints.

Analyzing GHG emissions in different driving situations provides an understanding of the size of the problem and sets a benchmark that future improvement efforts can be measured against. The fuel consumption of trucks carrying light and heavy loads should be studied, and measurements should be taken both on highways and city streets. Actual fuel use data can then be compared to EPA estimates to identify unusually high fuel consumption and drivers who could benefit from further training. While poor mileage is often the result of aggressive driving, mechanical issues can also cause engines to burn more fuel.

Many companies have GHG emission policies and objectives in place, and monitoring commercial vehicle fuel consumption allows them to gauge their progress to assure they are meeting their goals. There are a number of steps that fleet operators can take to reduce their fuel bills, and many of them require only a small investment and provide immediate results. Regular preventative maintenance keeps diesel engines working at their best and may reveal hidden issues, and it also provides an opportunity to improve fuel economy by upgrading components. Reducing wind resistance and drag can also lower emissions significantly, and many of the aerodynamic improvements made to commercial vehicles in recent years can be retrofitted to older trucks.

Taking action to curb emissions and protect the environment can be prudent from a business as well as an ethical perspective, and fleet emissions figures should be included in GHG reports and projections. Monitoring fuel consumption and analyzing GHG emissions may provide data that can be used to achieve measurable and lasting reductions, curb pollution and protect the environment.