What Fleet Owners Need to Know about ESG Reporting

The SEC’s new climate disclosure rule, proposed in March 2022, has paved the way for the broadest federally mandated corporate ESG data disclosure requirement ever. The rule would require public companies to provide certain climate-related financial data, and greenhouse gas emissions insights, in public disclosure filings. That has put pressure on a host of industries, including transportation, to seek faster ways to reduce emissions as investors, shippers and consumers demand more ESG reporting and greater sustainability measures.

Pressure Mounts to Lower Emissions, Report Results

Companies have stepped up their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting, or sustainability reporting, as global climate change measures have increased the demand for industries to lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 

Companies deemed more socially responsible are now far more appealing to investors and consumers. In response to the global cry for serious climate change response, more than 300 businesses have taken the Climate Pledge, including those in the transportation industry, to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 across its operations. That’s a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement, which requires countries to reduce emissions by 45 percent by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.

In the United States, the transportation industry stands as one of the leading contributors of air pollution. Carbon dioxide (CO2) creates the vast majority of GHG emissions and major sources of CO2 include fossil fuel combustion. In fact, although freight trucks make up only 10 percent of the vehicles on the road, they produce 25 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Now trucking fleet operators are feeling the pressure to produce ESG reports, especially data around emissions, and work more quickly to lower emissions and reduce their carbon footprint.

So, What is ESG Reporting Again?

ESG impacts represent a fairly broad umbrella of activities, and fleet operators are already doing many things that qualify, including using alternative fuels, running newer, lower-emission trucks, using products and technology solutions that create better freight efficiency, and even using energy-saving and recycling efforts at trucking facilities.

Trucking companies also are monitoring their social impact, which takes into account people and culture. Employee engagement initiatives and better standards for drivers fall into this category, along with monitoring labor standards among suppliers, data protection and privacy, and gender and diversity.

Good governance practices ensure transparency in operations and cover the procedures that help fleet owners stay ahead of violations, adopt sound internal systems of control, and maintain strong leadership.

ESG reporting makes public or available a list of Environmental, Social and Governance activities a transportation company is engaged in, and the impact those activites have had on reducing emissions. Socially responsible investors, shippers, and even consumers may use that data to make business, capital and purchasing decisions.

There is currently no law that mandates ESG disclosure for non-listed companies, but expectations have been raised for fleet operators and there are many ways to track ESG impacts. The three so-called pillars of ESG focus on people, process, and product.

Walmart Canada is offering carbon-neutral last mile delivery for e-commerce purchases. Ikea, which handles two million shipments a year, has set a goal to be climate positive by 2030 and has deployed transportation management systems to reduce trucking emissions. The retail giant has produced high-level reports describing activities related to its climate journey.

Trucking fleet operators also have Scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon emissions they can report and, by far, emissions controls and reductions remain the trucking industry’s largest focus when it comes to ESG reporting.

As Easy as Scope 1, 2 and 3

Source: https://pba.umich.edu/scopes-of-carbon-emissions-explained/

Tracking scope emissions opens ways to lower overall environmental impact and improve the bottom line.

Scope 1 emissions cover direct emissions generated from owned or controlled sources, including fleet fuel use.

Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy, including from cooling systems, electricity, heating, and steam. Scope 3 emissions are the result of activities from assets not owned or controlled by the reporting organization, but that the organization indirectly impacts.

Scope 3 emissions could include those produced by business travel, employee commuting, waste disposal or the emissions generated by purchased goods and services or transportation and distribution.

Reporting results of emissions-reducing activities can be a part of good ESG reporting.

It’s Electric – The Promise of EV Looms, But What About Now?

Trucking industry leaders agree that trucks of all sizes are ready for electrification, but large-scale fleet conversions to EVs across the transportation industry are still years away. With trucking accounting for a quarter of all U.S. carbon emissions, the move to zero-emission vehicles will deliver tremendous benefits.

But other new technologies, products, and practices can assist the trucking industry directly with reducing carbon emissions in the meantime and produce a measurable impact right away. Here are some of those go-to resources:

  • Aerodynamics: Products like TruckWings can significantly increase fuel efficiency. The tractor-mounted aerodynamic device automatically closes the gap between cab and the trailer, reducing drag. Use of the device can mean 3-6% fuel savings which can lead to millions of dollars in savings per fleet. TruckWings is the only fully automated aerodynamic device that works without driver interaction.
  • Tracking Vendors: Make sure vendors and suppliers are jumping on board with their emission-reducing practices. Do business with companies and partners that are actively shrinking their carbon footprint.
  • Alternative Fuels: Alternative fuels which have the potential to be used in trucking include biodiesel, gasoline, electric trucks, natural gas, and hydrogen fuel cells.

How to Get Started on ESG Reporting

Even if you don’t need an official ESG report for investors yet, it is a good idea to develop some sort of documentation, maybe even a website page, to show your ESG activities. Here are four quick tips to consider:

  1. Have an ESG Strategy – Develop a sustainability strategy and set short-term and long-term goals. Work with different departments to gather input and buy-in on the strategy.
  2. Decide on a Reporting Framework – There are still no right or wrong ways to produce ESG reports, but determine how you will consistently track, collect and report ESG activities and use a consistent framework. Consider who will be viewing the reports and what information they will most need.
  3. Reliability and Transparency – Decide on which activities you will report and ensure that consistent, reliable data can be collected. All ESG activities should be transparent both internally and to vendors and partners. Include activities that can be reliably measured.
  4. Watch Competitors – Pay attention to how your competitors are tracking and reporting ESG and tear a page from their playbook, or make sure your reporting is at industry standard.

ESG Reporting Delivers On-Time Benefits

Despite the pressure fleet owners and operators are feeling about carbon emission reduction and reporting, there are simple ways to demonstrate sustainability and get started now with improved practices and policies.

Driving forward with an ESG strategy can not only place your company in a better light with investors, partners, and customers, but also deliver significant cost savings. Fuel efficiency solutions lower costs and can even improve driver comfort.

As climate change measures increase globally and the carbon footprint of the transportation industry draws greater scrutiny, the promise of change can be a benefit for all.

Top Ten Ways to Improve Semi-Truck Fuel Efficiency

New semi-truck emissions regulations, along with higher fuel costs, have trucking fleet operators looking harder for additional ways to gain fuel efficiency. 

Record costs for fleets have come in the form of driver pay increases and a jump in repair and maintenance costs, but nothing has been more costly than the rising price of diesel. The American Transportation Research Institute reports that fleet operators saw a more than 35 percent increase in fuel prices last year, bringing per-mile trucking costs to their highest levels on record.

Now the Biden administration has proposed new emissions regulations that put the transportation industry at the center of attention, with goals to speed up the path to zero-emission semi-trucks and stringent new standards to reduce pollution.

But, there are many ways to increase fuel efficiency and reduce fuel costs, including quick and easy options that bring immediate results.

Semi-Truck MPGs at a Glance

Most semi-trucks have one or two fuel tanks that hold up to around 300 gallons of gas combined.

On average, semi-trucks get anywhere from 5.6 miles per gallon (mpg) to about 6.5 mpg. That fuel efficiency can range more widely when trucks are climbing steep uphill grades, which can push fuel efficiency down to 3 mpg, or coasting downhill when fuel efficiency can top 23 mpg. On a long route, fuel is consumed quickly and refueling is always top of mind for drivers.

In the last year, diesel fuel prices have spiked dramatically. Filling up used to cost around $300 to $400, but it can now cost over $1,000 to fill up the same Class 8 truck. Earlier this year the price of diesel fuel jumped by more than $1.50 per gallon in roughly two months, surpassing $6 per gallon in some markets. Since last year, truck fleets’ fuel spending has increased by around 25 percent to 30 percent. According to the American Trucking Associations, semi-trucks burn about 36.5 billion gallons of diesel annually.

New Standards for GHG Emissions Loom

In March of 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a proposed rule to set stricter pollution and emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles, including semi-trucks. The proposed new standards come as President Biden’s new Inflation Reduction Act becomes law. Hailed as the country’s most ambitious climate change legislation ever, the Act takes aim at greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), proposing to reduce them by about 40 percent by 2030.

The new emissions standards go after smog and soot-forming emissions from heavy-duty gasoline and diesel engines and would place new rules on commercial vehicles. Biden’s Act works more quickly towards zero-emission trucks and buses. Last year the EPA said it wanted about 1.5 percent of new truck sales to be zero emission by 2027, but vehicle and truck manufacturers are jumping on loftier goals. Daimler, for example, says up to 60 percent of its sales will be zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) by 2030. Volvo Group says its going for 100 percent zero-emissions truck sales by 2040.

These new rules and goals are putting pressure on truck fleet operators already dealing with fuel costs and driver shortages. Gaining better fuel efficiency can significantly drive down costs in the face of those pressures.

Best Ways to Gain Fuel Efficiency

From simple and immediate, to long-term and lucrative, there are many ways to get better gas mileage in a truck. Here are ten top ways to gain fuel efficiency.

  1. Use Cruise Control – Inconsistent speed can be a common cause of poor mileage. Using cruise control regulates speed and creates more efficiency.
  2. Avoid Idling – Idling is a waste of gas. Find easy ways to stop idling, including using truck stop showers while waiting in line.
  3. Keep Up on Maintenance – Make sure trucks receive regular maintenance checks as recommended by the manufacturer. Consider using a lower-viscosity oil.
  4. Improve Truck Aerodynamics – There are a number of products on the market that can improve truck aerodynamics and significantly reduce fuel costs, including TruckWings, which close the gap between the cab and trailer to reduce drag. Other aerodynamic devices include wheel covers, roof farings and side extenders.
  5. Plan Ahead – Pre-plan your trip to avoid unnecessary stops and use the latest GPS equipment to keep routes accurate.
  6. Lighten the Load – Reduce excess weight by removing unnecessary cargo or equipment. Every extra pound counts.
  7. Don’t Speed – Drive at the posted speed limit or slightly below. This cuts down on wind resistance which, in turn, cuts down on fuel consumption.
  8. Easy on the Brakes – Use momentum to your advantage and avoid sudden accelerations and excessive braking, which increase fuel consumption.
  9. Use Low-Rolling Tires – Low-rolling resistance tires made for trucks require less energy to move and can cut down on fuel use.
  10. Minimize AC Use – When and where possible, cut back on how much the AC is used. Air conditioning can be another drag on fuel use.

Get Started Today

Pressure from rising fuel prices and driver shortages, along with new legislation aimed at reducing emissions produced by trucks, is giving fleet owners and operators a lot to think about. But easy solutions and smart steps can make a big difference almost immediately. Using fuel efficiency measures can add up quickly and provide relief.

TruckWings can help fleets reduce drag and cut fuel costs by 3% to 6% annually, which can be thousands of dollars in savings per truck, leading to millions of dollars per fleet.

TruckWings is the only fully automated aerodynamic device that works without driver interaction. Drivers can count on it to deploy when speed goes above 52mph, and retract when speed goes below 50mph. So there’s no need to take their eyes off their driving or their hands off the wheel. Closing the gap reduces buffeting and trailer sway in cross-winds outperforming even the longest side-extenders on the market today.

Give us a call today to find out more about quick installation.

TruckWings and TrailerTail: A Case of Mistaken Identities

There are two aerodynamic devices in the trucking industry that are sometimes confused: TruckWings and TrailerTails. Yes, they’re both aftermarket accessories designed to help trucks reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency and have both been proven successful at achieving fuel savings. And it’s true each has anatomical names. But, that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

The products are significantly distinct from one another: They’re mounted on different parts of the truck. One’s fully automatic and the other isn’t. And most importantly, TruckWings is available pre-delivery via all major OEMs while TrailerTails is no longer available.

The parallels between the two products are just enough to have caused some confusion in the marketplace. The following table was developed to make distinctions clear—and hopefully dispel the notion that TruckWings and TrailerTail are one and the same.

TruckWingsTrailerTails
TruckWings is an aerodynamic device installed on the tractor.TrailerTails is an aerodynamic device installed on the back of the trailer.
TruckWings was designed to close the gap between tractor and trailer to reduce drag.TrailerTails was designed to streamline airflow off the back of the trailer to reduce drag.
Introduced to the market in 2015 and is available pre-delivery from all major OEMs.Introduced to the market in 2008 and as of 2020 Stemco ceased sales of TrailerTails.
TruckWings operates in two positions: Closed (when the truck is going fast on an open highway). Open (when going slow/making turns).TrailerTails operated in two positions: Open (when truck was moving). Closed (when it backed up/docked). 
TruckWings automatically opens and closes. There’s no manual intervention required—although driver override is possible for safety purposes.TrailerTails automatically opened but did not initially automatically close. 
TruckWings are designed with smart sensors to fully track fuel and carbon savings and provides uptime reportsTrailerTails does not track savings or provide reporting.

5 Ways to Improve Semi-Truck Aerodynamics and Reduce Fuel Costs

Rising fuel prices – topping off at more than 75 percent higher than last year – have left the trucking industry scrambling for solutions to reduce fuel costs and improve the efficiency of their fleets.

Diesel prices have reached record levels and not since the 1970s has there been a tougher time to manage fuel hikes and keep trucks running.

The seemingly endless trend in the wrong direction has trucking operators turning their attention from the inside of the tank to the outside of the truck, reconsidering truck aerodynamics and new advances in products and devices that curb their losses.

The Impact of Aerodynamics on Fuel Economy

Semi-truck aerodynamics plays a large role in how fuel efficient a truck can be when traveling at high speeds along an interstate highway.

At highway speeds, a semi-truck consumes more than half of its fuel by pushing through air resistance created by the size and shape of the semi-truck and trailer. This so-called aerodynamic drag decreases fuel efficiency.

That drag is created along multiple points of the truck and trailer, including the front of the truck, the gap between the trailer and the tractor, the sides and underbody of the trailer, and the back of the trailer. The smoother the airflow around those points, the lower the drag.

Improving aerodynamics can deliver significant fuel cost savings. In fact, industry reports indicate that using multiple devices to reduce aerodynamic drag can reduce trucking industry fuel consumption by more than 12 percent – or some $10 billion in diesel fuel costs.

The Most Common Drags

Trucking companies have popularized many products over the years that improve semi-truck aerodynamics, including streamlined shields, trailer skirts, trailer tails, and devices that cover the gap between the tractor and trailer.

All are directed at reducing the percentage of drag created by each aerodynamic-resistant component of a truck and trailer.

Among the leading offenders on a truck, when it comes to wind resistance, is the gap between the tractor and the trailer, which can produce 25 percent of the overall drag. Any gap of 18 inches or more between the tractor and trailer can produce increased air resistance, researchers say. Covering the gap can reduce drag by as much as 9 percent.

The front end of a tractor also produces a significant amount of drag or about 25 percent. Many truck manufacturers are eyeing the front of the truck for more aerodynamic design, including sloped front windshields and pedestal door mirrors.

All along the side of a semi-trailer, aerodynamics are impacted, along with the underbody. Combined, that’s another 25 percent of overall drag created by a tractor-trailer rolling down a highway.

Finally, the back of the trailer creates yet another point of drag when air gets trapped around the tail.

5 Easy Ways to Improve Semi-Truck Aerodynamics

Devices on the market today can create much-improved aerodynamics on semi-trucks and are readily available. Here are five leading ways to boost fuel efficiency.

  1. Reduce the gap between truck and trailer: Using an aerodynamic device to cover the gap can significantly reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency. Trucking industry giant Ryder System, Inc. partnered with us to use our TruckWings device, which delivered them a fuel saving of 4.1 percent. TruckWings automatically deploys at speeds above 52 mph, covering the gap without any distraction to the driver, and retracts when speeds drop below 50 mph, allowing for safe maneuverability on surface streets.
  2. Reduce airflow underneath: Side skirts reduce airflow underneath trailers, leading to fuel savings of more than 4 percent, according to manufacturers.
  3. Minimize tail drag: Trailer tails, or “boat tails” that reduce turbulence can knock fuel costs down by around 6 percent for semi-trucks traveling at 65 miles per hour
  4. Check your wheels: Wheel covers allow air to flow past the tires, reducing aerodynamic drag.
  5. Make mud flaps aerodynamic: Switch from heavy, solid rubber flaps to slotted mudflaps, which allow air to pass through them.

Improve Aerodynamics, Cut Fuel Costs

In the face of unprecedented fuel costs, fleet owners are finding a growing number of options on the market for improving truck trailer aerodynamics and creating fuel-efficient designs.

Leading the way in preventing costly wind resistance is TruckWings, providing an accessible, automated aerodynamic option that can significantly trim fuel costs across an entire fleet.

Ready to face down fuel inflation? Get in touch today and learn more.

Scope 3 Emissions: What You Need to Know in 2022

emissions

Companies are under increased pressure to monitor, control, and reduce their carbon emissions — and that pressure is set to continue. There are a number of ways to make key changes, from simple fuel emissions reductions to identifying problematic hot spots across operations. Tackling Scope 3 emissions opens an additional opportunity to uncover ways to lower overall environmental impact and adopt climate-friendly operations and policies.


What are Scope 3 Emissions?

Most global and public companies report and account for their carbon emissions, especially those generated from direct operations. But more and more operations leaders are honing in on Scope 3 emissions as a new area of demand and opportunity as regulatory pressures mount. In fact, many companies who gain a foothold in monitoring, managing, and reporting Scope 3 emissions are finding themselves at a competitive advantage.

Scope 3 emissions cover a broad range of activities and areas, including supplier activity and employee transportation, that a company can impact indirectly. Scope 3 emissions can be produced by purchased goods and services, capital goods, waste generated in operations, and even leased assets.

From favoring sustainable suppliers to curbing business travel, managing Scope 3 emissions provides an additional way to gain ground on a company’s overall sustainability goals.

U.S. companies are mandated to step up their efforts to reduce carbon footprints according to the Paris Agreement, which 189 countries signed onto. The agreement stipulates that countries and leaders worldwide must work to reduce emissions by approximately 45% by 2030 from 2010 levels.

Tracking Scope 3 emissions can offer a way to reduce overall emissions more proactively and thoroughly as more companies build emissions reductions into their net-zero and business strategies.

Scope 1, 2, and 3 Emissions: What’s the Difference?

Source: https://pba.umich.edu/scopes-of-carbon-emissions-explained/

Global Green House Gas (GHG) protocols break emissions into three “scopes” or classifications.

Scope 1 emissions
Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions generated from owned or controlled sources, including fleet fuel use and so-called fugitive emissions, or leaks and irregular releases from storage tanks, appliances, wells, or other pieces of equipment, for example.

Scope 2 emissions
Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy, including from cooling systems, electricity, heating, and steam.

Scope 3 emissions
Scope 3 emissions are the result of activities from assets not owned or controlled by the reporting organization, but that the organization indirectly impacts. These include both upstream and downstream emissions that are linked to the company’s operations. Scope 3 emissions fall into 15 categories, though not all may be relevant. These emissions could include those produced by business travel, employee commuting, waste disposal, or the emissions generated by purchased goods and services or transportation and distribution.

The Challenge with Scope 3 Emissions

While chasing down Scope 3 emissions and cutting them back presents an entire frontier of emissions-reducing tactics, companies are finding major challenges with locating the sources and determining how to reduce them.

That’s because Scope 3 emissions often are outside of a company’s direct management or ownership and are hard to assess. Adding to the mix of challenges, these emissions types might also be occurring across several different companies, sometimes making it hard to determine who is responsible for making cuts.

Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions are easier to track, measure and control. Meanwhile, down the supply chain, tracking and coordinating the reduction of emissions from privately-owned businesses, including original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), may present challenges.

But businesses are undoubtedly running out of time to reduce carbon footprints as consumer purchasing behavior shifts in favor of sustainable practices, more suppliers embrace lowering emissions amid global policy trends, and stakeholders grow impatient for better, more complete reporting from all levels of operations.

Primary Scope 3 Emission Factors

Complications aside, Scope 3 emissions come from areas that are traceable and definable, including downstream and upstream sources.

Upstream
Upstream emissions sources include areas within the direct control of the company, and closer to systems and departments that can track, analyze data, and act. Upstream sources include:

  • Waste Generation: Waste sent to landfills and wastewater treatment facilities, for example.
  • Purchased Goods & Services: Extraction, production, and transportation of goods and services purchased or acquired by the company. Includes so-called “Cradle to Gate” emissions associated with the production of goods and services.
  • Transportation & Distribution: Emissions from transportation by land, sea, and air and related to third-party warehousing. The life cycle emissions are associated with manufacturing vehicles, facilities, or infrastructure, and can account for nearly a quarter of all Scope 3 emissions.
  • Fuel and Energy-Related Activities: Emissions of purchased fuels and emissions of purchased electricity are not included in Scope 1 or Scope 2. Generation of purchased electricity that is sold to end users
  • Capital Goods: Final products with an extended life, such as vehicles, buildings, and machinery, that are used by the company to manufacture a product

Downstream
Downstream emissions are sourced from areas where companies can insert their interests. Downstream categories include:

  • Use of Sold Products: End use of goods and services sold by the reporting company
  • Downstream Transportation and Distribution: Transportation and distribution of products sold between the reporting company’s operations and the end consumer
  • Investments: These can include equity investments, debt investments, project finance, managed investments, and client services
  • Franchises: Owners of franchises report the emissions created by their franchise operations and franchisees report emissions upstream
  • End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products: Products sold to consumers that are “in use” are tracked for emissions related to product usage and disposal.

Why Measure Scope 3 Emissions?

Taking on Scope 3 emissions opens the door for businesses not only to improve their carbon impact but to attract investment and foster better innovation and collaboration with suppliers.

A business that goes after its indirect emissions achieves multiple benefits, including notching down risk within its own value chain, reassuring shareholders who are ratcheting up the pressure on companies in lockstep with mounting policy and consumer demand, and creating new opportunities with businesses, customers, and stakeholders.

As the importance of Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) gains momentum, there is growing awareness in the investment community that companies reporting and reducing all levels of carbon emissions can make for better investments. How a company tracks and mitigates its carbon emissions can have a significant impact on its profitability, risk and resilience and that has led to increased pressure to require companies to disclose more emissions information.

Aside from the appealing global impact of increased carbon reporting, consumers are increasingly demanding products and services with sound sustainability practices and standards. That means companies stand to improve bottom lines by pursuing scope emissions reductions andScope 3 emissions are the next bucket of opportunity.

Setting a focus around Scope 3 emissions also specifically ties companies more closely to their suppliers. Companies tracking Scope 3 also pay more attention to their customer’s behaviors and tracking emissions has the added benefit of uncovering additional operational cost-savings measures.

Benefits of Measuring and Reporting on Scope 3

Companies that measure and report on Scope 3 emissions tend to evaluate their overall business performance more effectively, focus on generating value from their emissions strategies, and create demonstrable impact from their emissions reductions.

Pursuing Scope 3 emissions can help companies not only further reduce their emissions but improve overall operations and performance. Added values from tracking Scope 3 can include:

  • Exposing emissions “hotspots” within a supply chain
  • Improved transparency, customer trust, brand, and reputational enhancement
  • Locating supplies that are leading in sustainability performance
  • Finding cost reduction opportunities
  • Helping suppliers bring sustainability initiatives up to new standards
  • Improving the overall sustainability rating of their products and services
  • Positive engagement with employees and consumers

Each of those benefits not only lowers a company’s overall carbon output but presents additional ways for a company to power up overall performance and improve its financial position.

6 Steps to Reduce Scope 3 Emissions

Taking steps to cut back on Scope 3 emissions can range from simple to complex. Here are some steps to get started.

  1. Determine which Scope 3 categories are relevant by taking a look at GHG protocols
  2. Collect source data from suppliers and partners for emissions related to products and services you’ve purchased
  3. Audit the supply chain to find where the greatest levels of indirect emissions may be occurring and determine if these areas can be improved
  4. Establish a single source of truth, finding a technology solution that streamlines data
  5. Take a closer look at suppliers and uncover which are focused on their own scope 3 emissions already. Find out if they are open to collaborating.
  6. Create an easy, employee-friendly approach to reducing emissions stemming from business travel and commuting.

Finding Pathways and Partners

Finding ways to reduce carbon emissions has fast become a key component of business strategy and sustainability practice among global and public companies. Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions categories provide a roadmap for specific tactics, developments, and activities companies can engage in to significantly lower their carbon impact.

Companies can create measurable impacts from relatively simple adjustments, such as lowering fuel emissions from their fleet or asking logistics partners to track and reduce their emissions. Products like TruckWings can be used to retrofit an entire trucking fleet or applied to new builds, delivering instant results. TruckWings is a tractor-mounted aerodynamic device that automatically closes the gap between cab and trailer, reducing drag, improving stability and increasing fuel efficiency, lowering emissions, and delivering 4-6% fuel savings.

Top Trends: TruckLabs VP of Product Shares Insights

Andrew Kelly, VP Product

How Innovation is Keeping Fuel Costs Down, Drivers Comfortable

TruckLabs VP of Product Andrew Kelly sees an increasing need for truck fleet operators to reach emissions reduction goals while tackling increased fuel costs and driver shortages. Thankfully, technology and product innovations are now speeding solutions for keeping fleets online and drivers comfortable. Kelly shares his insights on the latest innovations sparking the future for fleets and top solutions helping the trucking industry face unprecedented disruption.

Q: What trends and innovations are most exciting for the trucking industry, especially against the backdrop of ongoing challenges, including rising fuel costs and driver shortages?

A: Sensor technology, the enabling of IoT through connected devices, and the pursuit of aerodynamics are among advancements paving the way for the future of trucking fleets, said Kelly, who oversees the design of TruckWings, a key product offering from TruckLabs. The tractor-mounted active aerodynamic device automatically closes the gap between a truck cab and the trailer at highway speeds to reduce drag, improve handling, and save fuel.

Trip data that can now be collected along a truck’s route is providing increased visibility into how to optimize routes, economize on fuel, improve driver satisfaction, and increase the operational efficiency of entire fleets. New platforms can measure a truck driver’s performance while accounting for real-world complications, including weather, traffic and load. Data systems and sensors provide minute-by-minute data that can pick apart stories about truck performance to see how a truck operates, noted Kelly.

Truck design and the adoption of leading-edge aerodynamics are also shaping the future of the industry, Kelly added. Aerodynamics are one of the most cost-effective means of improving a truck’s efficiency. Improvements in aerodynamics for trucks are going beyond fuel efficiency design to the frontier of EV capabilities.

Q: What does the future hold when it comes to the adoption of electric truck fleets?

A: For sure, we can hear the silent roar of electrification, said Kelly. Designing electric trucks addresses the dependence on fossil fuels and the increasingly important issues of carbon emissions and fuel efficiency. But, there is a lot of apprehension from an operational standpoint, and massive adoption is still well around the corner, Kelly noted.

Aerodynamics is critical for America’s trucking fleets. While EV manufacturers continue to address issues around battery weight and range, aerodynamics is one of the most critical factors in achieving range targets in electric trucks. Aerodynamic losses are irreversible in EVs, whereas energy spent on acceleration can be partially recovered with regenerative braking in trucks, for example, Kelly said.

We see the aerodynamic choices of passenger car EVs on the market today that stand apart, including flush door handles, digital side view mirrors, and 3D wheel covers. Truck manufacturers have to make the same leap in aerodynamic efficiency to hit their range targets for market appeal. As manufacturers continue to put R&D investments into battery technology, the first generation of electric trucks will look much like their diesel counterparts. That leaves room for aerodynamic design to help in this first stage of adoption.

Right now the fastest way that a truck manufacturer could reduce drag on an existing truck model is to apply TruckWings, said Kelly.

Q: How does the TruckWings product address fuel efficiency and aerodynamics, while making the lives of fleet managers easier?
A: TruckWings closes the gap between the truck cab and trailer, where airflow commonly creates drag and stability issues. The product can be quickly installed and requires zero driver input to operate. Using vehicle speed and a smart sensor to detect trailer clearance, the patented folding panel design automatically deploys and retracts for easy use and maximum maneuverability without being prone to damage from user error. Common aerodynamic product offerings on the market today include long side extenders, which can limit turning radius during in-town driving. TruckWings retracts automatically at speeds under 50 mph without driver input, so trucks can be easily maneuvered for all driving conditions.

TruckWings traces its origins to a visit company founder Daniel Burrows made to a truck stop. Inspired by his work with climate change, Burrows noticed the gap between the truck and trailer and wondered if there was a better way to create energy and performance efficiency for commercial trucks.

The latest generation of the TruckWings solution automatically fits about 90% of trucks that are being manufactured and can be customized for others. That allows TruckLabs to buy parts in bulk to have on hand for delivery and service for any make and model of truck and cut down on lead time.

TruckWings works for all major OEM tractor models, a symbol that our customers have already pushed the limit and are keen on what makes a tractor most efficient and are looking to unlock best in class trucking aerodynamics, said Kelly.

Q: How do aerodynamic solutions for trucks help with driver retention?
A: Driver shortages have kept the trucking industry scrambling as supply chain and logistics issues have gone from one-time “black swan” events to an ongoing global challenge. Trucking fleet operators have responded by working to improve driver retention and the comfort of long-haul drivers.

Aerodynamic solutions like TruckWings can help. Product reviews and studies show that TruckWings helps reduce buffeting and improves the stability of a truck traveling in crosswinds, which can reduce fatigue associated with fighting crosswinds. Drivers also have reported feeling that TruckWings helped with straighter driving, said Kelly. The product operates automatically, so drivers don’t have the hassle of another device to maintain or operate.

Trucking companies today are looking for just about anything that can keep drivers happy and comfortable, but also need to take advantage of the latest technology to improve fleet operations and stay competitive.

So much is changing for the industry, yet the basics of driver comfort, safety and optimizing routes remains at the core of doing good business.

Ready to learn more about TruckWings? Reach out today and receive a complimentary product introduction and information.

Economic & Environmental Benefits of The STEER Act

Incentivizing use of emissions-reducing technologies in the trucking industry

Technologies have been developed in recent years to actively control aerodynamics and rolling resistance, and otherwise increase efficiency in the trucking industry. Smart devices that move and adapt to driving and vehicle conditions—automatically and in real-time—have huge potential to minimize drag, save fuel, and reduce emissions.

The STEER Act was introduced in mid-2021 to accelerate the adoption of these new technologies. The proposed federal program incents trucking companies to buy and install solutions that deliver significant economic and environmental benefits.

Once the legislation is passed, vouchers will offset the upfront cost and installation. The U.S. government will cover expenditures associated with adopting fuel-efficient technologies on Class 8 trucks, among the heaviest vehicles on the road, and those with the most potential to make an impact.

“We can reduce fuel consumption and emissions in the transportation industry without enacting costly … mandates on American companies and workers,” said U.S. Representative Rodney Davis, who introduced the bill in the summer of 2021. “It’s common-sense, market-driven ideas … that will protect American workers and our environment without destroying our economy,” he said.

“The STEER Act is rocket fuel for American innovations which help the trucking industry become cleaner and more efficient.”
Daniel Burrows, Founder and CEO of TruckLabs, maker of TruckWings


Daniel Burrows
CEO, Founder

Daniel Burrows agrees. The founder and CEO of TruckLabs, maker of TruckWings, an aerodynamic device that closes the gap between tractor and trailer to reduce drag, said. “One-third of the world’s carbon emissions come from the transportation sector. Fleets are spending 3% to 6% more on diesel than they should. Making it easy and affordable to consume less and reduce our carbon footprint helps us all breathe easier.”


The STEER Act authorizes $100 million annually from 2022 to 2026 to retrofit heavy-duty trucks with emission reducing technology that is currently available. Fleet size determines voucher amounts.


“This bill has huge potential to bridge the gap to zero-emission truck fleets,” Burrows said, referring to the almost 4 million Class 8 trucks in operation in the U.S. “We are proud to be part of the movement to help make the world we live in a better, more sustainable place.”

The STEER ACT was introduced to fast-track deployment of already available technologies, and make an environmental and economic impact now

Economic BenefitsEnvironmental Benefits
  • Improve the profitability and economic stability of our largest workforce—truck drivers
  • Strengthen the backbone of the nation’s supply chain
  • Save money on fuel and speed ROI
  • Improve Class 8 fuel efficiency by as much as 15%
  • Cut national fuel consumption by 4.5 billion gallons/year
  • Pave way for an alternative fuel futureSignificantly reduce carbon emissions

One-Third of the Nation’s Carbon Emissions Come From the Transportation Sector

greenhouse gas emissions

Transportation accounts for the largest portion of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) released into the atmosphere.

Twenty-nine percent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions come from combustion of fossil fuels, including gasoline and diesel used to transport people and goods, via on-road vehicles, aircraft, trains, and ships.

One quarter of that CO2 is emitted by trucks—particularly Class 8 trucks—which are responsible for releasing high (and harmful) levels of carbon dioxide.

Increasing CO2 in the air traps heat, raises temperatures, and causes energy imbalance that negatively impacts our health and degrades the environment.

Burning fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas cause most greenhouse gas emissions, which are comprised mostly of carbon dioxide (CO2). These harmful gases, generated by human activity, upset the natural greenhouse effect, and are responsible for global warming and climate change.

EPA.gov


The evidence is alarming, but the good news is there are actions to take. Alternative energy sources, aerodynamic devices that reduce drag, and new technologies are increasingly embraced by trucking companies to reduce the industry’s effect on the world we live in.

TruckWings check every box

With 450 million over-the-road miles under its belt since 2015, TruckWings goes a long way toward doing something about GHG. As the only aerodynamic device that automatically closes the gap between cab and trailer, TruckWings is part of the solution towards reducing unhealthy emissions in the air.

Deploying at 52 mph and retracting at 50 mph—with zero driver intervention required—TruckWings gives everyone good reasons to get on board:

Drivers count on TruckWings to do their job while they stay focused on their driving. Operators know it’s there, but there’s no action required on their part to make it work.

Fleet owners depend on TruckWings for fuel savings of 4% to 6%. As advances are made toward the use of renewable energy sources like propane, natural gas, electricity, hydrogen fuel cells, and biodiesel, the same TruckWings that are installed today will deliver even more savings and sustainability benefits as new fuels become mainstream.

Those in the c-suite appreciate the fast return-on-investment TruckWings delivers. With a million-mile lifespan, the automated solution has an ROI of just 15- to 18 months.

TruckWings is making a statement. Every day, at every turn, its presence reminds drivers, customers, and those who share the road that the company responsible for the tractor-trailer that sports them is serious about running an efficient business—and making a difference for us all.

The problem TruckWings help solve

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More than three-quarters of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are comprised of environmentally detrimental CO2 .Today almost all transportation energy comes from petroleum-based fuels that pollute the air we breathe.Millions of metric tons of CO2 are emitted each year by all sectors: transportation, electric, industrial, residential, commercial, agriculture.

Greenhouse gas reduction opportunities in the transportation sector:

Use new, cleaner fuels that emit less CO2.

Reduce aerodynamic resistance of vehicles.

Adopt sustainable practices/technologies.

How to Harness Aerodynamics to Reduce Drag, Improve Fuel Efficiency for Fleets

Automation, Targeted Design Boost Performance by Closing the Gap

Improving fleet performance, reducing emissions and reducing fuel costs are top priorities for the trucking industry, especially as fuel costs soar and green policy pressures increase. Fleet operators searching for innovations and solutions have eyed better aerodynamics as an easy answer.

The pocket of air between the tractor and trailer – or gap – is the most common cause for drag, which costs money and wastes fuel. How to close the gap while a truck is at highway speeds, yet maintain maneuverability on surface streets has posed a challenge for operators.

Extra long, static cab extenders have provided some relief. But, while they help close the gap and reduce drag, they interfere with trailer clearance for tight turns, making them a potential nightmare for in-town driving conditions.

Automated design has uncovered a better way to close the gap. Closing the gap reduces buffeting and trailer sway in cross-winds outperforming even the longest side-extenders on the market today.

Automation in Aerodynamics Delivers New Option
Introduced by TruckLabs in 2015, TruckWings is a tractor-mounted device that has unlocked a new frontier in Class 8 efficiency through the use of active aerodynamics. Developed by hardware engineers, software developers, and data scientists to systematically manage the gap in all conditions, TruckWings is innovating the industry.
Closing the gap reduces buffeting and trailer sway in cross-winds outperforming even the longest side-extenders on the market today.

The TruckWings device requires zero driver input to deploy or retract, delivering an automated solution that keeps people and property safe, while achieving the savings and sustainability improvements fleet owners are seeking.

How Do TruckWings Work?
TruckWings is the only fully automated solution that works without driver interaction.
As a smart device, TruckWings receives real-time information about the speed of a tractor-trailer to determine when to open and close. When the vehicle reaches 52 mph, a signal is sent from the cab to automatically deploy the TruckWings. When speed dips to 50 mph or below, TruckWings automatically retract before the truck needs to make sharp turns.
The standalone TruckWings controller is installed on the truck’s CAN J1939 data link. Additionally, a sensor scans the area behind the TruckWings to ensure adequate clearance to the trailer exists.

Five of the 10 largest fleets in North America have installed TruckWings on their trucks, logging over 400 million miles. Each one makes the savings and sustainability impact of taking two vehicles off the road every year.

TruckWings reduces the energy lost in the tractor-trailer gap, lowering wind drag, improving fuel economy and reducing carbon emissions. Most fleets see 3-6% improvement in fuel efficiency. Each TruckWings device reduces 20,000 lbs/yr in carbon emissions. Analysis and customer reviews also confirm an improvement in vehicle stability at higher crosswinds by reducing the side forces acting on the trailer. This leads to improved safety and vehicle control.

As more fleet operators turn to solutions that drive down fuel costs and improve emissions rates, TruckWings automation is delivering a powerful boost to fuel efficiency and sustainability efforts.

Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Put Money in Your Company’s Pockets

There are two ways to run a more efficient trucking business, and they go hand in hand. Using less fuel saves you money and reducing CO2 emissions saves our planet.

Savings and sustainability are inseparable when it comes to aerodynamic device TruckWings. Built to automatically close the gap between cab and trailer when a truck travels at highway speed, TruckWings’ cuts your fuel bill while making our world a healthier place to live.

Bottom line benefits
Fuel accounts for 12% of vehicle-based costs, or $0.36 per mile, according to a 2021 study by the National Private Truck Council (NPTC). The opportunity to cut that cost by reducing drag as much as 7% is real: Six of the 10 largest fleets in North America are doing it now with TruckWings.

These leading companies are realizing a short 15- to 18-month ROI by equipping their trucks with a smart device that deploys and retracts with no driver intervention required. Making the decision to install TruckWings delivers measurable financial impact, and it’s one drivers support.

Cleaner air to breathe
One-third of the U.S.’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector. Those who’ve chosen TruckWings are taking an active role in reducing levels of harmful CO2 in the atmosphere. They’re proud to be among visionaries doing what it takes to help the environmental cause. TruckWings on their tractor-trailers make a statement that reflects positively on their companies and their people.

Each time TruckWings automatically deploy, they signal the commitment made by the organization that owns and manages the truck to accomplish two key objectives: To cut fuel consumption and meet carbon reduction goals.

They show everyone on the road that they’re serious about running an efficient business—and making a difference for us all.