Sustainable Trucking Trends and Tech to Watch in 2023

Sustainability

Mitigating waste, conserving resources, and reducing pollution are not new challenges for the trucking industry. Commercial trucks comprised nearly 30% of transport emissions in 2018, making the sector one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gases in the United States. Given the increase in public awareness about the impact of climate change, sustainable trucking is now a trending topic.

The trucking industry is under increasing pressure to reduce its emissions. This pressure comes from the government and the public, but it also comes from truckers.

In a study by digital freight network Convoy, 61% of surveyed drivers said that climate change is of some or a great deal of importance. 

In this post, we’ll look at four sustainable trucking trends and technologies that could help minimize emissions.

4 Trends Driving Sustainable Trucking

With more than 300 companies signing the Climate Pledge to achieve carbon net-zero status by 2040, sustainable trucking is top of mind for many businesses.

As part of its study, Convoy surveyed dispatchers, drivers, and owner-operators from 700 SMB trucking companies. Convoy’s goal was to understand the current state of sustainability in trucking.

The findings revealed four key trends affecting sustainable trucking:

1. New (And Not So New) Government Regulations

Government regulations are the most significant driver of sustainable trucking practices.

Just over 25% of respondents in the March 2022 Convoy survey listed regulations as their top reason for reducing carbon emissions, up from 19.2% in August 2021. New environmental regulations focused on curbing emissions are currently under consideration at the national level. And state-level regulations, like the California Air Resources Board (CARB)’s zero emissions goal, are a factor driving sustainable trucking practices. 

Here are a few to keep in mind:

  • In April 2022, the federal government announced new vehicle fuel economy standards for model years 2024-2026. The measures will require an industry average of 49 mpg for new passenger cars and light trucks by 2026. The rule aims to increase fuel efficiency by 8% annually in 2024 and 2025 and 10% in 2026.
  • The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is working towards zero emissions for medium and heavy-duty fleets by 2035. The new regulation will significantly impact the transportation industry as early as 2024, with California planning to restrict fleets from deploying non-zero emission vehicles in drayage operations starting Jan.1 of that year.
  • SmartWay, an EPA program introduced in 2004, focuses on reducing emissions across the supply chain by enabling transport companies to track, document, and share fuel use and freight emissions. SmartWay partners enjoy many benefits, including help demonstrating their commitment to improving freight sustainability, and reducing CO2, NOx, and PM emissions.

2. Rising Diesel Costs

Diesel costs are high and not likely to decrease any time soon.

Three-quarters of all commercial trucks use diesel, moving nearly 70% of America’s freight tonnage. Since this likely won’t change in the next 10-20 years, trucking companies need to find ways to cut fuel consumption to reduce costs and emissions.

Nearly all of the nation’s largest tractor-trailers — class 8 trucks — are powered by diesel, and about 75% of small-to-medium-duty commercial trucks use diesel. Depending on your state, a gallon of diesel averages $5 to $6, meaning the average cost to fill the tank can range from $700 to $1,400, depending on the truck’s size.

This makes achieving maximum fuel efficiency a top priority for truckers and trucking companies.

3. More Pressure to Take Action

Awareness of climate change and public pressure are still big factors driving sustainable initiatives for many in the trucking industry.

In Convoy’s survey, 38% of respondents reported feeling pressure to reduce carbon emissions, up from 35% in 2021. Respondents cited government regulation as the top reason for feeling pressure to reduce carbon emissions, second to awareness about the environmental impact of emissions.

 

4. Efforts to Reduce Empty Miles

Convoy’s research found that 35% of truck miles are empty miles, with drivers driving, on average, between 100 and 400 miles empty.

Reducing empty miles by just 1% saves over 100 gallons of fuel. It’s why nearly 93% of respondents in the Convoy survey said reducing empty miles is moderately important, important, or very important to their business.

Empty miles have a huge environmental impact, contributing to 87 million metric tons of carbon emissions annually. But they also represent an opportunity when it comes to reducing emissions and improving sustainability in trucking.

 

Sustainable Trucking Technologies

Promising new technologies like active aerodynamics, alternative fuel vehicles, and telematics can help trucking companies reduce emissions, comply with government regulations, and save money.

We unpack all three below.

 

1. Active Aerodynamics

Active aerodynamics is a term commonly associated with improving the fuel economy of cars by reducing drag, and it can also apply to trucks.

Due to the considerable size and weight of trucks, semi-truck aerodynamics are more challenging to achieve. Recent research by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) revealed that a truck engine uses 85% of the energy it produces to overcome aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance.

To fix this, TruckWings, a tractor-mounted aerodynamic device created by TruckLabs, decreases downstream turbulence and drag. The device eliminates higher crosswind angles in the tractor-trailer gap by controlling airflow around the cab.

TruckWings works without driver interaction by extending winglets from the side of the truck based on vehicle speed and smart sensors, automatically unfolding once highway speeds reach 52 mph and retracting when speed goes below 50 mph. This can result in fuel savings of up to 4.1% — the equivalent of 20,000 pounds of CO2 per year.

2. Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFVs)

With diesel costs and regulations around emissions, many trucking companies are turning to alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs). AFVs include electric, hydrogen-electric, and renewable natural gas vehicles.

They emit just under 4,100 pounds of CO2 equivalent annually versus the 11,435 pounds of CO2 emitted by gas vehicles. AFVs are cost-prohibitive for many SMB trucking companies, with an up-front cost per vehicle of $200,000 to $800,000, versus $40,000 to $120,000 for the base model of a new diesel-powered semi-truck.

For this reason, equipping your existing fleet with tools to help reduce drag and improve fuel economy is a more cost-effective way to reduce emissions in the short term.  

 

3. Telematics in Trucking

Telematics is essential for many trucking companies looking to reduce emissions and improve sustainability. 

The software uses sensors, GPS technology, and other data-tracking technologies to help companies: 

  • Track their vehicles in real time
  • Optimize routes to reduce empty miles
  • Identify patterns and areas for improvement

Data collected includes:

  • Fuel consumption
  • Real-time truck location
  • Idling time

 

Sustainability Challenges in Trucking

Sustainability challenges are becoming synonymous with business challenges for truckers.

Pressure is mounting for trucking companies to prove their commitment to reducing carbon emissions and identify problematic practices within the supply chain.

Understanding how scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions impact the environment can help you make better choices for your business and the environment.

Here’s a brief breakdown of each type:

  • Scope 1: Direct emissions from company-owned or controlled sources
  • Scope 2: Indirect emissions from using electricity, heat, or steam
  • Scope 3: Other indirect emissions from the entire value chain

The best way to address Scope 3 emissions is to partner with sustainable trucking companies committed to reducing their emissions.

 

The STEER Act Can Help

US Rep. Rodney Davis introduced the Supporting Trucking Efficiency and Emission Reductions (STEER) Act in 2021.

It’s a $500 million voucher program focused on helping truckers and trucking companies retrofit their existing class 8 trucks with fuel-efficient technologies.

The STEER Act aims to help fleet owners reduce emissions and move towards more sustainable practices by incentivizing emission-reducing technologies. So even if you aren’t ready to move to AFVs, you may qualify for a voucher to cover the technology needed to retrofit your existing fleet.

 

Examples of Sustainable Trucking Companies

Here are three examples of trucking companies prioritizing sustainability, starting with Ryder System, Inc., a company that conducted a recent test of our TruckWings technology. 

 

Ryder System, Inc.

Ryder partnered with TruckLabs to conduct a 60-truck on-road test of TruckWings.

The controlled pilot fuel test assessed whether TruckWings could improve Ryder’s fuel economy and reduce the environmental impact of its fleet of over 200,000 trucks. Ryder compared the relative performance of a truck before and after installing the technology.

After evaluating the results, Ryder realized an improvement of over 4% in net mpg.

 

Werner Enterprises

Werner Enterprises is a US-based transportation and logistics company that uses technology to reduce CO2 emissions across its fleet of 8,000 trucks and 24,000 trailers.

Werner uses automated manual transmissions to boost fuel economy by 1-3%, predictive maintenance to monitor performance and keep trucks at maximum efficiency, and GPS trailer tracking to increase hauling efficiency. They’ve also begun piloting solar panels on their trucks to help extend battery life and reduce jump-starts.

 

DHL Express

DHL Express, headquartered in Germany, wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to below 29 million tons by 2030.

They aim to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. In addition to addressing Scope 3 emissions by auditing service providers along the supply chain, the company has begun retrofitting its fleet of medium- and heavy-duty trucks with solar panel mats that regulate the transfer of energy from the alternator to the battery.

The mats, expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for each vehicle by 2,000 pounds annually, also have sensors that collect data on fuel and emissions.

 

A Pathway to Sustainability

Sustainable trucking leaders show that there are many ways to reduce your emissions.

From active aerodynamics to solar panels to ATVs, the options to reduce your carbon footprint are numerous. As government, consumer, and industry awareness about the industry’s impact on climate change grows, so will the pressure on trucking companies to mitigate their emissions.

Products like TruckWings can help your company take the first steps towards reducing emissions and fuel costs. The companies that don’t begin to invest in more environmentally-friendly technologies will fall behind as the industry moves towards a more sustainable future.

5 Practical Ways to Reduce Fleet Emissions

In the face of new regulations, pressure is mounting to reduce fleet emissions.

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting requirements have placed a renewed focus on emission management strategies for fleet owners looking for ways to lessen their vehicles’ impact on the environment. While transitioning to electric vehicles (EV) may be a desirable long-term goal, it’s not always practical or realistic for fleets operating in the current market.

However, fleet owners can take steps to reduce emissions on Class 8 vehicles, improve Scope 3 carbon emissions for its customers, and build a competitive advantage.

Fleet Emissions and the STEER Act

New legislation has emerged to help equip fleets with technology that will help reduce emissions.

The Supporting Trucking Efficiency and Emission Reductions (STEER) Act, introduced in the U.S. House in July 2021, is designed to reduce emissions by incentivizing truck companies to buy and install fuel-efficient technologies on Class 8 trucks.

Under the STEER Act, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) would provide $500 million over five years for vouchers to cover the expense. A draft of the legislation states that the voucher amounts for each technology included in the bill will cover the lesser of:

  • $4,000 or 75% of costs per unit for fleets operating 10 trucks or fewer.
  • $3,500 or 72.5% of costs per unit for fleets operating 50 trucks or fewer.
  • $3,000 or 70% of costs per unit for fleets operating 100 trucks or fewer.
  • $2,500 or 67.5% of costs per unit for fleets operating more than 100 trucks.

5 Ways to Reduce Fleet Emissions

Going electric is one way to reduce emissions.

But the truth is that transitioning to EVs is not realistic for most fleets in the near term.

Adding EVs to a fleet requires a substantial investment. Electric Class 8s cost $400,000 to $600,000, compared to about $150,000 for conventional diesel trucks.

About $220,000 of that expense is for the electric powertrain alone. Another added expense is the need for electric vehicle infrastructure, such as charging stations, which cost about $20,000 each.

There are also concerns that if drivers have to stop every 150 to 250 miles to charge their trucks, driver shortages will increase. This is why it’s important to consider using technologies that improve fuel efficiency and lower emissions in existing vehicles.

Fortunately, there are five other ways to reduce emissions that are more practical and realistic for most fleets in the short term.

  1. Improve Truck Aerodynamics

Improving aerodynamics is one of the most effective ways to reduce fuel consumption and emissions both today and into the future with EVs.

Aerodynamic drag accounts for over half of a truck’s fuel consumption at highway speeds. The good news is that using multiple aerodynamic devices to reduce drag can save the trucking industry about $10 billion in diesel fuel expenses.

These devices include:

  • Roof fairings to minimize the turbulence created by the cab.
  • Wheel covers that allow air to flow past the tires.
  • Active aerodynamics devices that automatically adjust to the changing aerodynamic needs.

One example of an active aerodynamic device for Class 8 tractors is TruckWings, a device that automatically closes the gap between the cab and trailer. TruckWings automatically deploy when speed exceeds 52 mph and retracts when speed is below 50 mph.

This means drivers don’t need to take their eyes off the road or their hands off the wheel.

Here are some of TruckWings’ proven benefits:

  • Improves driver experience: Fully-automated TruckWings improve stability, especially in crosswinds, and don’t require driver interaction.
  • Helps fleet owners meet ESG goals: Each TruckWing reduces 20,000 lbs/yr in carbon emissions.
  • Offers durability with minimal maintenance: Aerospace-grade aluminum has proven durability of almost half a billion miles driven and outperforms side extenders.
  • Provides real-time data: A cloud-connected telematics device features customer dashboards for 100% transparency.
  • Reduces fuel costs: TruckWings has shown proven savings of 3-6% mpg, resulting in millions of dollars saved per fleet.

Ryder System, Inc. and TruckLabs worked together to test the fuel efficiency of TruckWings. Get the results here.

  1. Invest in Telematics

The technology of communicating, collecting, and storing information via telecommunication devices is known as telematics.

In trucking, telematics monitors engine diagnostics and the hours a vehicle runs. This helps fleet managers keep track of all vehicle updates and required maintenance.

  1. Optimize Trucking Routes

An efficient routing plan can help reduce fuel consumption, emissions, and costs.

GPS technology has advanced, allowing for quicker travel and fewer stops, resulting in a 30% reduction in carbon emissions during each trip.

  1. Monitor and Improve Driver Habits

The most common cause of fuel waste is driver behavior.

Teaching and encouraging proper driving habits can result in a significant reduction in fuel consumption. Aggressive drivers who accelerate and brake rapidly use up to 30% more fuel.

Additionally, a tractor-trailer uses 20% less energy to move at 55 mph than 62 mph. And an idling diesel vehicle uses half a gallon of fuel an hour.

Cutting idling can save up to 5% of fuel costs, amounting to thousands of dollars in savings per year.

  1. Upgrade to Newer Vehicles

Older vehicles are less fuel-efficient than newer models, so upgrading your fleet can reduce emissions and fuel consumption.

A recent report from Fleet Advantage shows upgrading to a 2021 model from a 2016 model would reduce CO2 by 21 metric tons, resulting in $16,856 in savings per truck.

Reduce Your Fleet Emissions

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to reducing fleet emissions, but these five steps are a good place to start.

You can make a significant impact on your fleet’s carbon footprint by making even small modifications. And as electric vehicles become more prevalent, now is the time to start planning for the future.

A Quick Guide to Improving Tractor Trailer Aerodynamics

semi truck aerodynamics

Did you know that improving trailer aerodynamics can significantly impact drag and fuel efficiency?

Aerodynamic drag is responsible for 65% of the energy used while pulling a trailer. That’s why more fleets are turning to products like trailer aerodynamic products to help reduce drag and save money on fuel costs.

But what are trailer aerodynamics, exactly?

And which product is right for your fleet?

Answering these questions requires understanding the effects of aerodynamic drag on tractor-trailers and the different types of products available to reduce it.

What Are Trailer Aerodynamics?

Trailer aerodynamics refers to the study of how air flows around and over a trailer.

When a truck moves, air resistance (or drag) slows it down and uses up fuel. Reducing drag can lower fuel consumption by up to 12%. This would save more than $10 billion in diesel fuel per year.

The Main Points of Drag on Tractor Trailers

To understand how to reduce drag, it’s essential to know where it comes from.

There are three main points of drag on tractor-trailers:

  • Back of the trailer near the doors: When air circulates around a trailer, it forms a vortex behind the rear door, causing a significant decrease in air pressure.

Addressing these areas can significantly improve trailer aerodynamics.

Airflow Simulation

Products and Devices to Reduce Tractor-Trailer Drag

Aerodynamic devices are effective at reducing drag and improving fuel efficiency.

And the faster the speed, the more efficient they become. Many products and devices on the market can help reduce drag.

  • Trailer fairings: The trailer fairings (or skirts) keep the wind from blowing under the trailer and into the bogie. They work best when they start from the landing gear and end at the front face of the front trailer axle, close to the ground.
  • Wheel covers and mud flaps: Wheel covers are devices inserted into the wheel that help direct airflow around the tires. Mudflaps are installed behind the wheels and help deflect air away from the undercarriage.

When choosing an aerodynamic device, it’s important to remember that many will complement each other. For example, using trailer tails with wheel covers further reduces drag.

Of course, fleet owners must consider the unique needs of their operation when choosing products.

Trailers Are Only Part of the Equation

While trailer aerodynamics are important, they account for only some of the drag that impacts fuel efficiency.

The front tractor section also accounts for a significant amount of drag (about 25%). To address this, some truck manufacturers are exploring a more aerodynamic design for the front of the truck.

Some solutions include adding pedestal door mirrors and sloped-front windshields.

The gap between the cab and trailer also accounts for about 25% of the overall drag. High-speed air rushing in causes a low-pressure area which then drags on the tractor and decreases fuel economy.

Closing the gap would result in a decrease in airspeed and less turbulence downstream. Increased pressure at the back of the cab would decrease overall drag, especially where crosswinds are strong.

For fleet owners, this could mean a significant decrease in fuel consumption and savings amounting to millions of dollars each year.

Learn how Ryder Systems saved 4.1% on fuel with TruckWings.

Improve Trailer Aerodynamics and Fuel Efficiency

Cutting emissions and fuel costs is a high priority for trucking fleets.

That’s why many fleet owners are investing in trailer aerodynamic devices.

There are two types of trailer aerodynamic devices:

  • Hardware-only devices that require driver interaction.
  • Smart products that are automated and require no driver interaction.

TruckWings and TrailerTails are two devices that are sometimes confused, but there are key differences between them. TrailerTail (discontinued) was a hardware-only device installed on the back of the trailer that required the driver to close it manually. TruckWings is the only fully automated, tractor-mounted device that works without interaction, allowing for the best driver experience.

By automatically closing the gap between the cab and trailer, the device:

  • Improves stability
  • Increases fuel efficiency
  • Reduces drag

TruckWings also:

  • Operates in two positions — closed when the truck travels fast on an open highway and open when going slow or making turns
  • Uses smart sensors to track carbon and fuel savings
  • Provides uptime reporting

If you want to improve fuel efficiency, contact us to learn more about TruckWings.

FAQ

How do I reduce drag on my truck trailer?

There are several ways to reduce drag on your trailer, including:

  • Adding trailer fairings (or trailer skirts) to keep the wind from blowing under the trailer and into the bogie.
  • Installing mudflaps and wheel covers to help direct airflow around the tires.
  • Adding a trailer tail to alter the airflow as it leaves the trailing edge of a truck’s side and top surfaces.

Why do truck trailers have wings?

Wings help keep the trailer more stable and improve fuel economy.

Do truck wings work?

Yes, they are an effective way to reduce drag and fuel costs. In fact, TruckWings provides potential fuel savings of 3-6% mpg with 12-18 months ROI resulting in millions of dollars saved per fleet.

Learn how Ryder Systems saved 4.1% on fuel with TruckWings.

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.

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.

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