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Speed Cuts, Training, Progressive Shifting Offer Best ROI, Study Finds

Of the fuel efficiency initiatives suggested under the EPA’s SmartWay program for freight operators, the highest return of investment comes from highway speed reduction, driving training and progressive shifting, according to a survey sponsored by PepsiCo and logistics provider Transplace.

These actions – along with recording engine data for greater driver feedback – are also the most commonly implemented among the more than 65 carriers surveyed, according to Transplace.

Many carriers are also implementing aerodynamic mirrors and verified low rolling resistance tires. Other initiatives, including tire pressure monitoring systems and gap reducers, had a more limited deployment across the fleets. Some fleets have implemented such initiatives with expected return on investment, and other fleets are either still evaluating these initiatives or have had more mixed results following implementation.

According to FleetOwner.com, innovations including truckstop electrification, advanced trailer end fittings, nitrogen-filled tires and verified retrofit technologies had not been implemented by most operators.

The survey also ranked initiatives on ease of installation. The initiatives deemed easiest to enact by respondents were verified low-rolling-resistance tires,  reducing highway speed and progressive shifting. Those deemed hardest were single wide-base tires, auxiliary power units, vehicle weight reduction and driver training, according to FleetOwner.com.

Carriers responding to the survey included J.B. Hunt, Con-way, Western Express, Smith Transport and Dart Transit.

With transportation accounting for a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, demand for corporate citizenship and leadership has increased, Transplace says. SmartWay aims to offer information to help industry leaders make carrier, modal and technology decisions that improve performance, save fuel and reduce costs.

The SmartWay program delivers standardized tools and information to help the freight sector measure, benchmark and report supply chain environmental performance.

In October, distribution services from HP, Best Buy and Lowe’s were three of the 40 freight industry companies honored in the EPA’s 2012 SmartWay Excellence Awards for achievements in moving freight more efficiently while reducing harmful emissions.

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