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6 Ways to Make Your Fleet More Sustainable

green truck driving

The transportation industry is a vital part of our economy, however, it’s also one of the leading sources of CO₂ emissions in the country. According to a 2019 study from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the transportation sector accounted for the largest portion of total greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Of that portion, 58% was from light-duty vehicles and 24% from medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

The long-standing concern surrounding greenhouse gasses has prompted many transportation companies to look into more environmentally friendly practices. Becoming a more eco-friendly fleet doesn’t just benefit the planet long-term, it can also improve the efficiency of how products are delivered and boost public perception of your company. Go green, while getting the job done, with Commercial Truck Trader’s six ways to make your fleet more sustainable.

1. Upgrade to an Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles (EV) have been gaining popularity in the transportation industry. In fact, the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act earmarked $7.5 billion to invest in the EV market, including electrifying diesel buses. Amazon has even made plans to use an all-electric version of the Ram ProMaster cargo van.

Electric vehicles aren’t just a trend, and demand is growing for zero-emission heavy-duty trucks. Commercial Truck Trader attended the 2022 Work Truck Show where more OEMs than ever before were exhibiting electric vehicles or electric chassis. Volvo is one of the many popular manufacturers producing electric Class 8 trucks currently, with new models coming from other brands in the next year. Industry experts say that electric work trucks increase fleet efficiency, decrease maintenance and fuel costs, and improve overall public health.

2. Optimize Routes

Of course dispatchers work hard to find the most efficient routes for commercial drivers to take. However, it certainly doesn’t hurt to take another look at your route planning to see if there are better alternatives that can both save fuel and fulfill the most deliveries in the shortest amount of time.

Can smaller shipments be combined to reduce the number of trips? This method of OTR transportation is known as less-than-truckload (LTL) and has become more meaningful with the rise of e-commerce. LTL shipping may be a better option for your fleet if you transport freight that is less than 15,000 pounds and does not require a full-sized trailer.

You can also utilize fleet management apps to optimize your fleet. These apps can help you track vehicles, routes, speed, and even idle time with real-time information. This data can help you keep track of the overall sustainability of your fleet and drivers. Read our previous article to learn more about fleet management apps.

3. Keep Up with Regular Maintenance

The healthier your commercial fleet is, the less negative impact these vehicles will have on the environment. Simply replacing clogged air filters, using the recommended motor oil, properly inflating tires, and getting regular tuneups can keep your fleet running efficiently and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

While it can be easy to overlook or put off minor maintenance, telematics software enables you to track the vehicle performance and predict maintenance intervals so you can easily maintain the upkeep of your fleet. Keeping up with this vehicle care can improve the output of your work trucks and vans, save gas, and reduce pollution.

4. Establish Air Quality Practices

In March 2022, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan signed a proposed rule that will set new standards to reduce pollution from heavy-duty vehicle models manufactured starting 2027. The proposed standards should reduce smog- and soot-forming nitrogen oxide emissions from heavy-duty engines and ensure that these vehicles are as clean as possible.

While this is a plan for future commercial vehicles, you can start establishing air quality requirements for your fleet now. Here are a few practices to follow to reduce emissions and improve air quality:

  • Use low-rolling resistance tires to minimize wasted energy.
  • Add side skirts to trucks to increase aerodynamics for fuel efficiency.
  • Idle less by shutting engines off when not on the road.

5. Create Sustainability Goals and Reward Drivers

Making more eco-friendly decisions starts at the top. Fleet managers can create sustainability goals and reward drivers who meet these goals. Provide incentive for drivers who follow the above air quality practices, maintain proper tire pressure, use progressive shifting, avoid hard braking, and take other measures to reduce a truck’s carbon emissions. Fleet managers can educate drivers on sustainability best practices, track drivers’ success, and reward them for their efforts, which can help the whole fleet reduce its carbon footprint.

6. Become an Accredited Sustainable Fleet

The National Association of Fleet Administrators, Inc. (NAFA) offers a Sustainable Fleet Management Certificate to teach professionals how to make your company an accredited sustainable fleet. Through this program, you’ll learn how to establish sustainable driver training, define sustainability-focused metrics, track fuel to support sustainability goals, and other methods to build a sustainable fleet. This is a great way to learn eco-friendly best practices from industry experts.

Transportation will always be a vital part of how we do business, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take steps to improve certain procedures. By making your fleet more sustainable, you could benefit both your business operations and the Earth as a whole.


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Arielle Patterson
Arielle Patterson

Other Resources

6 Tips for Using and Maintaining an Electric Vehicle

Truck drivers and fleet owners are finding a number of key benefits of electric vehicles, including easier maintenance and repairs.

8 Hidden Costs of Trucking

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5 Reasons for Military Vets to Make Commercial Driving a Second Career

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