It is not surprising that fuel is a major part of a trucking company’s operating margin. A little over a third of a trucking company’s cost per mile goes directly toward fuel. The trucking companies that are best able to control these costs, along with reliable service, will be best poised as the trucking industry rebounds from the recession.
Below are the main components of a truck’s fuel loss. These apply to trucks traveling on highways rather than local pick-up and delivery drivers that deal with a lot of stop and go traffic.
AERODYNAMICS AND RESISTANCE
Aerodynamics and resistance may account for over 15% of lost fuel savings. Some common ways trucking companies cut this cost are: reducing the space between the trailer and the cab, adding trailer skirting also known as chassis fairings, utilizing wheel covers, and replacing mirrors and cameras with more aerodynamic ones.
Around 5% of fuel burned is during idling. It is not possible to eliminate idling altogether, but there are steps and processes companies can take to reduce idling.
About 30% of fuel consumption (whether resulting in savings or loss) results from the drivers themselves. The best drivers maintain steady speeds and low rpm. The North American Council for Freight Efficiency states, “The difference in fuel economy between the best and worst driver can be up to 25%” Simply put, better drivers mean better fuel economy. The issue trucking companies face is an overall shortage of drivers which in turn means less fuel-efficient drivers.
TIRES AND ROLLING RESISTANCE
Tires and rolling resistance can account for over 12% of energy losses. There is a rise in what are known as super single tires which reduce the weight of the vehicle but also offer better traction in the snow. These tires are also easier to maintain and replace so that you are dealing with fewer tires overall.