Under the hood: Transplace offers fuel conservation tip list for energy-efficient shipping/receiving

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff July 11, 2008

Fuel has reached record-high prices, with no apparent relief in sight. And transportation management services supplier Transplace knows all too well the challenges for carriers and Over the Road (OTR) drivers brought on by these higher prices.
Via research conducted with its carrier alliance partners, Transplace has compiled a handy list of fuel conservation tips to help both carriers and OTRs endure rising fuel prices.
In sharing this list, Transplace hopes to alleviate the pressure and make the shipping and receiving processes of its clients more energy-efficient.
Here are a few highlights from the Transplace Fuel Conservation Tip list.
OTR Driver Fuel Conservation Tips:
• Plan routes through major cities during off-peak hours.
• While customer requirements often dictate that deliveries occur during peak hours, supply chain partners should work together to establish flexible shipping and receiving hours to maximize the efficiency of all affected parties.
• Reduce deadhead and empty miles by laying over and waiting on the next closest load, if practical.
• Coordinate the most efficient backhaul with your driver managers, rather than running long distances to pick up the next load. This applies your available capacity to the closest load and reduces the total gallons required to reposition for the next pickup.
• Utilize low RPM shifting techniques for maximum fuel conservation.
• Less fuel is used when changing gears more quickly at lower RPMs, which also reduces long-term wear on vehicles engines.
• Ensure all equipment is properly maintained and all air/fuel filters are changed according to the manufacturer’s specs
• Instead of trying to save money by lengthening the time interval in-between service checks, ensure your vehicle is running safely and efficiently by following the manufacturer’s specs.
• Eliminate unnecessary equipment/ tools/personal effects to reduce total weight on truck.
• Remove excess weight from the vehicle, such as TVs and double bunks.
Carrier Fuel Conservation Tips
• Become an EPA SmartWay Transport Partner certified carrier and use all applicable SmartWay specs for OTR equipment
• By following SmartWay specs—e.g., in-cab heaters/APUs, low-resistance tires, and aerodynamic fairings—as a general rule, fuel efficiency will be maximized.
• Deploy route optimization software to select routes with fewest impediments such as traffic flows or adverse topography.
• Many carriers have the sophistication to use software that will ensure the quickest, and therefore, the most fuel-efficient route. It is vital to utilize this software rather than to rely on out-of-date technology that does not meet the needs of our ongoing national economic hurdles and energy conservation requirements.
• Examine driver incentives and training for fuel efficiency and idle reduction procedures.
• Change the mind-set of the driver by providing him or her with a reason to practice fuel conservation techniques. If you convince drivers that their actions will have a direct impact on their paychecks and the success of the company, then they will be more likely to conserve fuel and help the environment.
Through its alliance with Transplace’s customer base and SmartWay —a partnership effort developed with the U.S. Environment Protection Agency—Transplace is developing a Fuel Emergency Kit that will comprise a useful set of fuel conservation strategies and tactics to reduce the overall cost of fuel to their customers’ operations. The Transplace Fuel Emergency Kit will be available this summer.