Con-way, Frito Lay Among Fleets Seeing 19% Efficiency Gains from Adopting Technologies

May 7, 2015
Fourteen fleets operating more than 53,000 tractors and 160,000 trailers achieved fuel savings of $477 million in 2014 by adopting a variety of fuel efficiency technologies.

Fourteen fleets operating more than 53,000 tractors and 160,000 trailers achieved fuel savings of $477 million in 2014 by adopting a variety of fuel efficiency technologies, according to the Annual Fleet Fuel Study released by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE).

These fleets represent a growing focus on fuel efficiency in the industry. The fleet improvements save $9,000 per year per truck, with an estimated payback period of two and a half years, and reduce their carbon emissions by 19%.

This year’s study found the adoption of fuel-saving technologies had increased from 18% in 2003 to 42% in 2014. As a result, the 14 fleets have achieved 7.0 mpg on average for all their trucks, while their 2015-model-year trucks have reached as high as 8.5 mpg. That is well above the national average of 5.9 mpg, reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration.

The 14 fleets included in the study achieved this high level of fuel efficiency by adopting a combination of nearly 70 currently-available technologies and engaging the resources and guidance of Trucking Efficiency, a joint effort of NACFE and Carbon War Room (CWR).

“The dramatic improvement in fuel economy of the leading fleets this year is exciting,” says Mike Roeth, operation lead for CWR’s Trucking Efficiency and executive director of NACFE. “If we can get the owners and operators of the 1.5 million tractor-trailers on the road today to invest in more of these technologies, we will see significant reduction in fuel consumption.”

Major trucking fleets like Con-way Truckload, Frito Lay, and Schneider are actively pursuing fleet-wide fuel savings and seeing on-the-road results from adopting recommendations from Trucking Efficiency’s Tech Guide and Confidence Reports on individual trucking technologies. Trucking Efficiency has completed Confidence Reports on tire pressure systems, 6x2 axles, idle reduction, transmissions, and engine parameters.

"We have been aggressively pursuing fuel savings and freight efficiency for many years,” says Steve Hanson, director of fleet engineering at Frito Lay. "Through collaboration with tractor builders and aerodynamic-device and fuel-system suppliers, we are now able to get the aerodynamics we desire on our latest tractors. This will help us continue to increase our overall fleet-wide fuel efficiency."

Con-way Truckload, another exemplary fleet, saw major success in equipping 48% of their fleet with automated manual transmissions. “We will continue to buy automated manual transmissions as they are providing fuel savings and drivers appreciate their performance,” says Randy Cornell, vice president of maintenance and asset management at Con-way Truckload.

Since 2011, NACFE has conducted its Annual Fleet Fuel Study to report on innovative fleets that have committed to improving fuel efficiency. Fleets that participated in the study shared their implementation experiences as well as best practices for using these technologies. The study provides insights to help other fleets make decisions about adding these fuel efficiency technologies and practices in the future.

With upcoming Confidence Reports on tires, maintenance, downspeeding, lightweighting, and other technologies, Trucking Efficiency will continue to promote fuel savings opportunities in the industry.

"Fleets saved $477 million in 2014 by investing in efficiency technologies. These savings will grow as other fleets learn from their leadership," says Mike Roeth.