Small steps

| April 02, 2008

Wide singles save fuel by reducing friction and weight.

The environmental gains to be made in the business world might seem to be only for factories and other big operations. That’s not the case. Even a single-truck owner-operator can play a part.

An environmental awareness affects the way you operate and the equipment you buy. The good news is that many of the green deeds you can do, at least the ones related to fuel consumption, put money back in your pocket by cutting costs.

The basics relate to reducing idling and running more efficiently, which means cutting emissions and burning less diesel. You’ve heard these tips a thousand times, but they bear repeating:

  • Use idle-reduction equipment.

  • If you don’t have such equipment, look for truck stops with electrified bays.
  • Drive as slowly as possible in the 55- to 65-mph range.
  • Check tire pressure daily and keep tires inflated to proper levels.
  • Buy an aerodynamic truck or add aero fairings to your existing truck.
  • Accelerate and decelerate smoothly and slowly.
  • On your next new truck, spec an automatic transmission.
  • With a manual, shift up as early as practical.
  • Employ measures to extend your oil drain, such as using synthetic oil or a bypass filter.
  • Use wide-single tires.
  • Keep up with routine maintenance.
  • Use biodiesel.
  • Avoid heavy chrome components and other unnecessary weight.

In addition to those staples of environmentally wise trucking practices, consider these other steps you can take:

EQUIPMENT

  • Use retreads. They have one of the highest levels of post-consumer content of any recycled product.

  • Instead of disposing of used oil, burn it with a hot-air furnace or hot-water boiler designed for such fuel. Clean Burn, a leading producer of this equipment, says a customer who burns 1,500 gallons of used oil each year saves about $3,750 on fuel bills, plus transportation and disposal costs of the used oil.
  • Use soy-based or other environmentally friendly fifth-wheel grease.
  • Get an engine-block warmer if you operate often in cold climates.
  • If you have your own shop, get the proper equipment or access the necessary services to avoid improper discharge of pollutants.
  • If you wash your own truck, use environmentally friendly cleansers and comply with state discharge requirements.
  • Add an onboard scale.
  • Use tire pressure monitoring or auto-inflation systems.
  • If you log many out-of-route miles thanks to poor directions, get a GPS system.
  • When ordering a new truck, spec the best cab insulation option.
  • Use sleeper curtains, window shades and a visor as much as possible to reflect or trap heat.
  • Apply reflective materials to windshield and windows.

ON THE ROAD

  • Try to save and recycle all the paper, plastic and aluminum waste you accumulate. Check out www.earth911.org to find a recycling drop-off center.

  • Reduce your paper and plastic consumption by toting water and coffee in your own containers instead of buying it in disposable containers.
  • Use your own bags when buying supplies at the truck stop or grocery so you don’t consume plastic bags.
  • Support a truck stop that’s met criteria for the Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay program. There are three so far: Atlanta South 75 Travel Center in Jackson, Ga.; Bruce’s Truck Stop in Bakersfield, Calif.; and Scranton Petro LP in Haverford, Pa.
  • Consider getting approved as a SmartWay business, especially if you have a small fleet. You can market your green awareness to potential customers. Visit www.epa.gov/smartway.
  • Learn which lodging chains have the best environmental policies. The travel website www.rezhub.com, which has an environmental emphasis, ranks hotels.
  • Turn off the lights, air conditioner or heater, and electronics in your motel room while you’re out.
  • Turn off the water when you brush your teeth, and take shorter showers.

More Tips

  • Wide singles save fuel by reducing friction and weight.

  • Keeping tires at proper pressure saves fuel and, by extending tire life, reduces waste rubber.
  • When engine oil gets saturated with soot, friction increases and fuel is wasted.
  • Wide singles save fuel by reducing friction and weight.
  • Keeping tires at proper pressure saves fuel and, by extending tire life, reduces waste rubber.
  • When engine oil gets saturated with soot, friction increases and fuel is wasted.

Comments are closed.