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NACFE shows regional fleets can achieve above-average MPGs

The trucks in the Run on Less Regional, a freight efficiency demonstration conducted by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE), averaged 8.4 miles per gallon for the three-week event, marking a 40% improvement over standard fuel economy for vehicles in the same class, according to NACFE.

The 10 trucks from participating fleets—C&S Wholesale Grocers, Hirschbach, Hogan Transportation, JB Hunt, Meijer, PepsiCo, Ploger Transportation, Schneider, Southeastern Freight Lines and United Parcel Service—saved more than 2,500 gallons of fuel and 25 tons of carbon dioxide, NACFE maintained. On average, the 10 fleets saved approximately $800 per vehicle over the course of 18 days. If all regional carriers reached this benchmark MPG, annualized potential savings would be more than $9 billion. 

“Going into the Run, we had no idea what to expect in terms of just how fuel efficient these fleets could be,” said Mike Roeth, NACFE’s executive director. “The numbers these trucks and drivers put up demonstrate that it is possible to achieve high MPGs in regional operations.”

NACFE chose to focus this year’s Run on regional-haul operations to demonstrate that, with the right investment in technology and skilled drivers, it is possible to achieve MPGs far above those of the average fleet. Over the course of Run on Less, NACFE also discovered that:

  • High efficiency requires a remarkable group of drivers and fleet leaders. 
  • Big data and connectivity will help us optimize for each route.
  • There is significant diversity in duty cycles, so it is crucial to understand each business, and spec equipment and coach drivers for each route.
  • More regional haul is good for trucking—drivers and equipment stay close to home, and it is fertile ground for zero-carbon fuels, specifically electric trucks.

The 10 trucks operated within 300 miles of their home base in hub and spoke, dedicated and multi-stop routes. They faced a variety of challenges, including traffic congestion, construction, operating in urban environments and traveling secondary roads. Some of the trucks operated in two shifts per day, possibly in differing duty cycles, and there was one natural gas truck, which has lower inherent efficiency. NACFE said it also learned that because of the diversity of duty cycles, the equipment has a very utilitarian design, which challenges optimization. Despite those challenges, using commercially available technologies, these trucks demonstrated it’s possible to operate in a fuel-efficient manner in real-world, regional-haul operations.

“With a growth in regional haul, it is important that the trucking industry focus on making this sector as efficient as possible,” said David Hoover, director of outbound logistics at Meijer. “What we all learned here, with respect to the various duty cycles and driver performance, is crucial to designing tractors, trailers, routes, etc to dramatically lower the carbon footprint of North American goods movement.”

Throughout the Run, the three Freightliners, two Internationals, two Kenworths, one Peterbilt, and two Volvos, piloted by drivers Louis Scaruffi, Mark Casey, Glen Williams, Dustin Whitener, Rita Bare, Lou Martinez, Travis Lauer, Michael Tam, Beau White and Darin Salgado, respectively, were monitored by devices installed by Geotab and by data loggers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, both event sponsors. Speed, load, elevation changes, number of stops and weather were monitored during the three weeks of the Run. Shell was title sponsor for the Run, and a host of other companies were event sponsors and supporters. A full list of drivers, fleets, and sponsors is available at runonless.com.

NACFE said it now will analyze all of the data collected over the course of the event and report its detailed findings in early 2020. Results data, videos and fleet profiles will remain active on runonless.com.

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