For many, the idea of an eco-friendly truck company is ludicrous: the trucking industry is a major contributor to pollution, how can it be considered green?
But while diesel engines and environmental consciousness tend not to go hand-in-hand, the trend to go green hasn’t bypassed trucking. In fact, a growing number of fleets are getting serious about environmentalism, and green initiatives are popping up across the industry.
Of course, running a green fleet comes with its challenges. For one, making decisions that are best for the planet might not be best for a business’s bottom line. There is also the risk of alienating drivers who are not convinced that sustainability is a worthwhile route to take. The last thing a company wants to do is push away its employees, but the benefits of going green (for companies, drivers and the planet) are clear.
With the environment a hot topic right now, and the Euro VI regulations requiring heavy-duty trucks to meet specific emission standards, companies can’t afford to be complacent.
Here’s why businesses are choosing to boost their green credentials.
1 Going where the customer goes
With so much media coverage about diesel pollution, public awareness of the subject is sky-high.
For many, reducing pollution is a key priority and customers are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies with a strong environmental and social reputation.
2 Reducing costs
Fleet owners are always looking for ways to reduce fuel costs, and savings can be made in different ways. Retrofitting and updating equipment can lead to significant savings. Adding trailer skirts to big rigs, for example, can reduce the drag on trailers and the amount of fuel consumed.
Of course, buying new fuel-efficient equipment is even better, but it requires significant investment. Companies may reach a point when truck maintenance and fuel costs are greater than the cost of a new, fuel-efficient model – at which point they will simply have to find a way to fund that investment.
Other cost-saving strategies include replacing traditional double tyres with wide-based versions, limiting the top speed of trucks on motorways and minimising idling times.
3 Developing smart technologies
Technology is tracking more aspects of truck driving. This means that idling, acceleration, braking and top speeds can be monitored and driver behaviour changed to maximise savings. Meanwhile, GPS technology leads to greater efficiency and lower fuel expenditure.
Innovative technology has also seen the development of electric and gas-powered trucks, however longer distances between charges and lower costs are needed before these technologies become a feasible option for the industry.
4 Changing driver outlook
Most of us like to think we welcome change, but it’s not always that simple. Some drivers are resistant to new technologies, sceptical that they won’t deliver everything they promise. However, many drivers are open to changes in technology, equipment and regulations.
The key to greater acceptance lies in education and knowledge, both about the reality of global warming and the benefits of working for an environmentally-focused company.
Protecting the environment and reducing our carbon footprint is a key priority for many. Trucking companies need to find the right balance between environmental sustainability and reducing fuel costs.
Kermit the Frog once said: “It’s not easy being green.” How right he was…