Fleet owners must tackle fuel efficiency in small steps

Transportation software can help business owners in the freight industry make a more gradual and cost-effective transition to fuel efficiency. The U.S. energy economy is at a major turning point as the discovery of domestic natural gas supplies reduces dependence on foreign oil imports. A growing interest in preventing the onset of global climate change through comprehensive regulations and policies has also created a demand for cleaner engines and renewable fuels.

Taking the long view
However, adapting to these trends will most likely be a gradual process that takes several years. In fact, the industry magazine Automotive Fleet cited data from a recent U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) report that predicted gasoline-powered vehicles will continue to dominate the U.S. market well into 2040. The DOE made the assumption that the current federal legislative and regulatory framework would continue relatively unchanged throughout this time period, meaning there would be little reason for fleet owners to make drastic changes in their operations.

That's not to say there still won't be substantial innovations in the near future. For example, the report also anticipated the average fuel economy of cars and trucks in the U.S. will reach 37.2 miles per gallon by 2040. As a result, the owners of small and medium-sized shipping companies may want to consider the benefits of advanced technology such as equipment maintenance software. After all, reducing the overhead costs associated with gasoline and diesel fuel takes time. Automated systems that help managers organize and schedule vehicle repair activity can have a much easier time adapting to more stringent standards in the future.

Vehicle upkeep isn't the only important factor in improving long-term fuel efficiency. Rather than investing large amounts of overhead spending in brand new trucks or engines, fleet managers can instead focus more on restructuring their day-to-day shipping activity. For example, route optimization software allows businesses to make the most of time on the road by identifying the fastest and most reliable course for delivery. Such planning will result in immediate fuel-savings because individual trucks can ultimately reduce the amount of time they spend on the road for a single shipment. Diesel prices are already unpredictable. According to Commercial Carrier Journal, the per-gallon price for on-highway diesel has measured significant ups and downs over the course of the last three years.

With the right fleet management software, business owners can take the small steps required to reach a much larger, long-term goal.