I had an interesting conversation the other day with the owner of a truckload carrier
in North Carolina.
He said he was approached by a driver team looking to hire on with his company. In
the current environment this company, like many others, is looking to save money, not add expense…but the prospective employee was not to be discouraged. In fact, the team
asked for the opportunity to prove how much money they could save the fleet.
They proposed making a turn on the same routes and with same loads as the company
typically hauls to demonstrate how much money they could save the company.
So they dispatched the prospective team at the same time and to the same pickup as
one of the company's veteran teams.
The trucks left North Carolina and traveled to the Phoenix area, delivered and then
loaded cantaloupes for the return trip.
Total expense for the team wanting a job was $932.00 less than for the "veteran" team!
In other words, the new team used 25% less fuel in the 4200 mile trip than the
veteran employees. And, the prospective team made all deliveries on time and got just as much rest as the "veteran" team.
Was this just because the "new guys" were trying harder?
Partly, but more important, the new team looked on fuel economy as, "part of the job"
(or in this case, part of what it took to get the job). And that means they consciously and proactively used fuel efficient driving strategies, i. e. low engine rpm, low(er) road speed,
progressive shifting, reduced idle, etc. to save company money and ensure better profits.
This experience is not really unique because virtually every trucking operation has
the opportunity to improve fuel economy and reduce costs, in many cases by as much as 25% ($900 in a 4000 mile trip) by making "fuel economy" part of the job.
Regardless of specifications, fuel economy is still dependent on how the vehicle is
Analysis of trip records has proved time and time again, that the biggest difference
between the best and worst fuel mileage in a fleet is not specification, or loads or even routes, but simply in how the vehicle is operated.
Low fuel mileage trucks are consistently operated at higher road speeds, higher RPM
and with higher idle time percentage than good fuel mileage trucks. And the difference in average point to point time is negligible.
In other words, faster road and engine speeds only raise costs without producing any
Is a 25% reduction in your fuel bill important to you?
Is improving fuel mileage part of the job at your company?
Should it be?