Industry Insights

Green, Mean Trucking Machines – How to Make Your Truck More Eco-Friendly

Eco WarriorReducing carbon emissions is one of the biggest challenges facing the automotive sector as a whole. But how can your average owner-driver or fleet operator take the extra steps to make their trucks more eco-friendly?

While the car sector is leading the push towards a greener automotive future, the Australian trucking industry has made bold strides, achieving a 35 per cent overall reduction in emissions between 1991 and 2011. This is a crucial and commendable statistic considering, in the year 2000, the industry accounted for almost 15 per cent of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s a big achievement – but there are still some hard yards to go.

Australia already has one of the highest per capita emissions levels in the world and our freight task is growing every year. That’s why it’s more important than ever for drivers and operators to get on board and do their bit for the environment.

So here are five tips that can save you money, increase the lifespan of your trucks and leave the world a safer, greener place for your kids.

What drivers can do

  1. Idle less, save more: Did you know the energy from electronics left on stand-by accounts for five to ten per cent of all electricity use in residential homes? Well it’s similar with trucks – an idling truck not only wastes fuel but also generates unnecessary pollutants.
  2. Lift your right foot: This one’s a no-brainer – maintaining an average speed and not gunning it from the traffic lights can make a big difference to your overall emissions. Remember, every step that saves your carbon tyre-print also saves fuel costs.
  3. Keep up with upkeep: Even more important than maintaining your speed is maintaining your truck. Checking fluid levels and changing oil filters means your petrol’s burning cleaner and there are fewer pollutants in your exhaust fumes. Cleaner fuel and a healthy truck mean a cleaner, healthier environment.
  4. Plan ahead: Carefully planning your routes saves time and fuel, making your business more efficient. Merging loads that are headed for the same destination can also go a long way to reducing your fleet’s emissions. One way to help plan ahead is with Telematics, which has the added advantage of allowing you to monitor your fleet as you go.
  5. Go with the flow: Improving the aerodynamics of your trucks through nose cones or fuel scoops is a great way to lighten the fuel usage.

There was a time when our industry revelled in its monster-truck, gas-guzzling image. But both the climate and the trucking industry have changed a lot since the 1970s.

Public perception towards environmental safety has changed dramatically as well and, although there are still a few cowboys on our roads, the world is trucking down an ecologically conscientious path.

The attitude change has mostly been driven by growing awareness around the sector’s environmental impact, but there’s also been a range of incentives introduced – most of which apply to even a small fleet.

The incentives

Lower fuel and maintenance costs provide the most obvious motivation, but tax and financial benefits are another strong catalyst for change.

Various government policies have encouraged the industry to lower its emissions. For large companies particularly, implementing environmental measures ahead of government regulation saves on playing catch-up if the rules change.

Finally, due to growing awareness around the sector’s environmental impact, marketing opportunities have arisen for trucking companies with an ‘eco-friendly’ image.

Earning a green-thumbs-up for your business has its challenges, and changing driver behaviour can be difficult, but it can also be a significant point of difference to your competitors. And, as outlined above, it can save big money in the medium to long term.

It’s a strategy many trucking companies are currently adopting, so if you’re sitting on the fence, it might be best to have a look at it now.

Despite the exciting work taking place, there’s still a lot we can do to ensure a greener, safer future. Whether you’re fleet is two or 200 strong, we all have our part to play.