Best Practices for Improving Fleet Efficiency in Class 8 Trucking

Rising diesel prices are escalating the operational costs of fleets. Coupled with the steady rise of other expenses, the imperative for fleet managers to enhance their fleet efficiency has never been clearer.

Fleet efficiency involves optimizing vehicles, trailers, containers, drivers, and administrative personnel. In this article, we’ll delve into the concept of fleet efficiency and its significance in the trucking industry and outline six best practices to elevate it

What Is Fleet Efficiency?

Before discussing how to improve fleet efficiency, it is important to understand what it means. Fleet efficiency is improving the performance of a company’s fleet of vehicles.

A fleet manager must review and monitor various factors to improve fleet efficiency. To measure fleet efficiency, fleet managers use three main indicators:

  • Safety metrics help to identify risk patterns and implement preventative measures. These measures include accident rates, driving violations, and maintenance compliance.
  • Cost efficiency metrics help identify areas of waste or inefficiencies in a fleet. These indicators include fuel efficiency, idle time, and vehicle utilization.
  • Compliance metrics indicate how well a fleet complies with relevant regulations and standards. These measurements include on-time deliveries, hours of service, and emissions compliance.

Importance of Efficiency in the Trucking Industry

Fleet efficiency is pivotal for the prosperity of the fleet for several compelling reasons.

One of the obvious benefits is reducing costs. Profit margins will improve by prioritizing enhancements in key fleet areas and adopting technologies that reduce fleet fuel costs. Given the existing squeeze on margins, proactive investments today promise significant returns in the future.

Environmental responsibility is another major factor. With governments increasingly urging businesses to consider their ecological footprint, the trucking industry is under the spotlight. Enhancing fleet efficiency reduces emissions and steers the organization toward a more eco-friendly trajectory.

In addition, it’s crucial to consider the well-being and satisfaction of employees. A streamlined and efficient fleet cultivates a reduced-stress environment and can improve driver retention. This minimizes operational challenges, such as last-minute alterations and excessive idle time, ensuring more consistent schedules and improving driver satisfaction. 

6 Best Practices for Improving Fleet Efficiency

Prioritizing fleet efficiency enhancement is an effective strategy for cutting down fleet costs. There are many things fleet managers can do to improve efficiency, including:

1. Enhance Truck Aerodynamics

Aerodynamic devices are a primary contributor to fleet efficiency. There are a variety of devices to choose from, such as aerodynamic bumpers, mirrors, and roof fairings. Not only do these devices help reduce fuel consumption, but they can also reduce emissions and improve driving capabilities as less wind buffets the vehicle.

Among the great devices that can help fleet efficiency are tractor gap devices, like TruckWings. TruckWings closes the gap between the cab and the trailer, making the truck more aerodynamic. Increased aerodynamics helps to improve airflow and fuel economy.

2. Optimize Operations With Telematics

Telematics is a trucking technology that monitors a fleet vehicle’s data points and transfers them to a central system for real-time analysis. A fleet manager can then use that data to make better decisions for the entire fleet.

With telematics, fleet efficiency can be improved in a variety of ways. A fleet tracking system can avoid traffic delays on the original route and track the fleet’s location. Additionally, it can monitor fuel consumption and address any drivers who waste fuel. Predicting mechanical issues with a vehicle health indicator can minimize downtime.

3. Provide Feedback and Foster Communication

Leveraging technology allows fleet managers to monitor essential metrics related to driver behavior. Since better driving practices can lead to decreased fuel consumption, engaging drivers in constructive dialogue is essential.

Instead of delivering feedback as criticism, positioning it as constructive coaching can make drivers more receptive. In addition, two-way communication is essential: while fleet managers should provide feedback, drivers should also have avenues to voice their insights and concerns.

Given their hands-on experience, drivers often offer crucial perspectives that can enhance overall fleet operations. Their feedback can also highlight potential improvements in communication channels, ensuring a transparent and effective exchange between managerial staff and drivers.

4. Streamline Operations With Software

Advancements in technology have paved the way for software solutions and mobile apps that bolster efficiency in the trucking industry. Gone are the days when fleet management relied on cumbersome paper trails and whiteboards. These methods were time-consuming, prone to errors, and lacked analytical depth. 

Modern fleet management tools offer real-time connectivity and derive insights from vast data. This software ensures accurate data collection from vehicles and stores it centrally for effortless retrieval. Vehicle maintenance records, both past and upcoming, are readily available with timely alerts. Integrated mobile apps further bridge communication between drivers and the central office, guaranteeing access to current information.

5. Reduce Idle Time With Fuel-Efficient Routes

Excessive idle time can escalate fuel consumption, maintenance expenses, and environmental impact. Sending drivers on suboptimal routes only further reduces semi truck fuel efficiency

Utilizing routing software, you can minimize idle time by optimizing routes based on variables like delivery addresses and delivery times, ensuring paths with minimal traffic. Educating drivers about turning off engines during halts and utilizing telematics for real-time data can further reduce idle periods and prevent unnecessary traffic delays.

6. Implement Preventive Maintenance

Instead of reacting to breakdowns, fleet managers should proactively implement preventive maintenance schedules. This approach addresses potential issues before they escalate, minimizing unplanned vehicle downtime.

Proactive truck fleet maintenance not only curtails downtime but also optimizes fuel efficiency. Routine measures, such as tire inflation and oil filter replacements, are crucial for peak vehicle performance and can substantially reduce repair expenses. Taking a proactive stance reduces downtime for drivers and eliminates emergency responses.

A robust preventive maintenance strategy begins with a comprehensive fleet inventory and current records. Plans should be tailored for each vehicle, considering its usage, season, mileage, and engine hours. Continual monitoring of these elements enables informed decisions. Furthermore, training drivers to conduct inspections and report findings to a central system enhances the preventive approach.

Optimize Your Fleet Efficiency With TruckLabs

Understanding fleet efficiency is foundational for any trucking company committed to optimizing costs and operations. It’s not a one-time effort but a continuous endeavor. By embracing technological advancements, such as aerodynamic improvements with TruckWings, companies can drive tangible improvements in fuel efficiency.

Check out TruckWings or contact us if you’d like to learn more about how to improve your fleet’s efficiency.

What Is Fleet Management Technology & How Does It Benefit Fleets?

Whether you’re managing a fleet of 20 or 200,000 vehicles, fleet management is essential for monitoring your fleet’s safety, productivity, and efficiency.

Managing a fleet is multifaceted — from taking care of vehicle maintenance and ensuring driver safety to planning routes and optimizing fuel consumption (an important task when gas accounts for 25% of costs). A fleet management system can help fleet managers save time, money, and effort while managing their fleet more efficiently. 

Fleet management technology is a powerful tool. In this article, we’ll explore fleet technology, what to look for in a fleet management system, and some examples of how to use it to get the most out of your fleet.

What Is Fleet Management?

Fleet management is a term that comprises the actions and processes required to run a fleet that is efficient and cost-effective. It involves various tasks and responsibilities to optimize fleet performance, reduce operational costs, enhance safety, and comply with regulations.

Using fleet management, owners can increase their fleets’ productivity, extend the lifespan of their vehicles, and enhance overall operational efficiency. 

The responsibility of fleet management falls to the fleet manager. Fleet managers oversee daily operations, ensuring they run smoothly and efficiently. Fleet managers’ tasks can involve hiring, purchasing vehicles, optimizing routes, and adhering to laws and regulations. Each fleet has its own tasks and challenges, making the fleet manager role unique. 

What Is Fleet Technology and What Are Its Benefits?

Fleet technology refers to tools and technical solutions that assist in managing and optimizing fleets. These tools require an upfront cost but can result in a quick return on investment. They can also help with other essential factors, such as improving road safety

Fleet technology helps managers optimize their fleets in several ways, including:

  • Data analysis: Analyzing historical data and real-time data about drivers and their vehicles can reveal trends and opportunities for improvement.
  • Fewer breakdowns: Well-maintained records and automated reminders simplify truck maintenance, resulting in less downtime.
  • Improve driver safety: Monitoring driver behaviors encourages good driving habits and enhances road safety.
  • Increase productivity: Monitoring delays, idle times, and downtime make it easier to spot and fix performance issues, improving efficiency.

What Features Should You Look for in Fleet Management Technology?

Fleet management technology is available in many forms. If you are looking for a fleet management system with comprehensive support, look for the following features:

  • GPS tracking uses satellite technology or cellular networks to monitor vehicles. It can provide customizable alerts, real-time tracking, route optimization, and customer notifications.
  • Fuel management can monitor fuel levels in real-time, provide insights into how long fuel lasts, and identify leaks.
  • Notifications and alerts highlight to the fleet manager any severe situations that require attention immediately or may cause an issue in the future. Fleet managers can set up custom notifications and alerts based on their preferences.
  • Fleet maintenance helps fleet managers identify vehicle issues so they can be addressed quickly and prevent long-term damage.

5 Use Cases for Fleet Management Software

With the fleet management market predicted to hit $52.50 billion by 2030, fleet management technology will become standard in the industry. The right fleet management software can make fleet management easier and more efficient. Here are five ways to use technology to help you manage your fleet.

1. Predicting Maintenance

Fleet management software can use historical data to help predict maintenance so you can proactively resolve issues before they happen, reducing vehicle downtime. The software helps gather fleet data from installed GPS trackers and sends it to the central system. AI models then analyze the data to determine when maintenance services such as brake inspections, oil changes, and tire rotations are necessary.

2. Improving Aerodynamics

Reducing gas expenses can result in significant savings for fleets. One way to help reduce fuel consumption is to install aerodynamic devices. Aerodynamic equipment like gap devices and boat tail fairings reduce drag, improve stability, and increase fuel efficiency. With fleet technology, fleet managers can gain insights into the effectiveness of these devices by examining how efficiently they work.

3. Monitoring and Alerting Drivers

Driver monitoring systems (DMS) are a type of fleet technology that can aid in improving driver behavior. These systems use a camera to detect any actions from a driver that could impair their driving, such as fatigue, talking on the phone, or smoking. When the tools see risky behavior, an in-cab alert notifies the driver and encourages safer driving habits.

4. Capturing Data and Insights

A significant part of fleet technology is capturing data to analyze fleet operations and suggest improvements. Fleet tools can collect data such as:

  • Speeding events
  • Heavy acceleration
  • Aggressive cornering
  • Vehicle maintenance info
  • Unnecessary mileage

These data points can become actionable insights useful for fleet managers to anticipate future problems and develop solutions.

5. Planning Routes

Fleet management technology can also help fleet managers optimize routes. GPS and telematics report the real-time location of the fleet, allowing drivers to plan alternative paths if delays occur. 

Additionally, the software can help plan the most efficient route. With the help of sophisticated algorithms, fleet technology can analyze multiple delivery locations, traffic patterns, and other factors to help reduce fuel consumption, delivery times, and wear and tear on the fleet.

Take Your Fleet to the Next Level With Fleet Management Technology

Fleet management technology can help a fleet reduce operating costs, such as fuel costs, vehicle breakdowns, and maintenance costs. Fuel is one of a fleet’s most expensive expenses, and investing in TruckWings can help — TruckWings improved Ryder’s mileage by 4.1%.

Check out TruckWings or contact us if you’d like to learn more about how fleet technology and improved aerodynamics can transform your business.

5 Ways to Use Fleet Telematics and Aerodynamics to Boost Fuel Efficiency

For leaders in the trucking industry, finding ways to improve the efficiency and sustainability of operations is a challenging yet essential task. With diesel prices at historical highs, efficiency is a key component influencing a fleet’s average trucking cost per mile.

One groundbreaking technology has emerged as a beacon of hope: fleet telematics. According to a recent study, fleet telematics can slash fuel expenses by 20-25%. With such high stakes, understanding and deploying telematics for fleets are no longer optional — they’re essential.

This article examines the benefits of fleet telematics and how optimizing aerodynamics can help lower consumption and reduce fuel costs.

What Is Fleet Telematics?

Telematics is an interdisciplinary field that melds telecommunications with informatics. Specifically, telematics for fleet management refers to using advanced technology and data analysis to monitor and manage a fleet of vehicles. From tracking a single truck’s location to monitoring the entire fleet’s performance, telematics provides unparalleled insights for fleet managers.

Using telematics, each vehicle in a fleet captures and transmits data via a network of connected telematic devices. The system can collect multiple data points, including the vehicle’s location, speed, idle time, harsh braking, and even tire pressure or engine health. Fleet managers can use this data to make more informed decisions.

What Are the Benefits and Challenges of Telematics for Fleets?

Fleet telematics offers numerous benefits beyond the obvious advantage of improved fuel efficiency. Telematics for fleets can improve safety and productivity while extending vehicle life. With the insights from telematics, companies can also significantly reduce operating costs, meet compliance requirements, and deliver superior customer service.

However, as with any significant change, integrating fleet telematics can present challenges. Upfront costs for equipment and software, the need for employee training, and the potential for data privacy concerns are all factors to consider. A careful plan can overcome these obstacles, resulting in substantial long-term benefits.

Why Does Aerodynamics Matter for Fuel Efficiency?

Vehicle aerodynamics refers to how air flows around a vehicle while it is in motion, and it plays a crucial role in vehicle performance and fuel economy. Trucks generate drag and air resistance as they travel, which means the engine uses more power to overcome the friction, thus consuming more fuel. Reducing friction with aerodynamic devices can improve fuel economy.

The optimization of truck and trailer aerodynamics can include a range of techniques, from retrofitting aerodynamic devices such as side skirts or roof fairings to advanced designs in new vehicles. Even a small effort, like maintaining optimal tire pressure, can positively impact a vehicle’s aerodynamic profile and improve fuel efficiency.

5 Ways Fleet Telematics Helps Improve Fuel Efficiency

Fleet telematics is more than a tool for simply tracking vehicles or measuring data — it’s a powerful resource for optimizing fleet operations. Telematics provides valuable insights into improving fuel efficiency and reducing operational costs. 

Here are five ways you can utilize fleet telematics to drive fuel efficiency.

1. Analyzing Vehicle Aerodynamics

Understanding and improving vehicle aerodynamics is key to optimizing fuel efficiency. The more aerodynamic a vehicle, the less fuel it requires to move forward. According to estimates, long-haul trucks traveling at highway speeds use around 85% of useful engine power to overcome aerodynamic drag. 

This is where fleet telematics steps in. It enables the collection and analysis of detailed data related to vehicle aerodynamics, including air resistance and flow patterns. Using these insights, operations managers can identify areas to reduce aerodynamic drag and measure improvements in data once changes have been made. The positive impact on the bottom line can be substantial, as even minor aerodynamic adjustments can yield significant savings over a vehicle’s lifespan.

2. Monitoring and Coaching Driver Behavior

It’s not only the vehicle’s design that affects fuel efficiency but also how it’s driven. Research suggests that driver behavior can reduce annual fuel consumption by up to 30%. Speeding, harsh braking, rapid acceleration, and excessive idling are some behaviors that can lead to increased fuel consumption. 

Fortunately, telematics systems collect data on driving habits and patterns, allowing fleet managers to analyze and identify areas of concern. This real-time information can then be used for coaching drivers, promoting safer and more fuel-efficient driving habits. The result is twofold: Not only does this lead to reduced fuel consumption, but it also promotes a safer work environment for drivers.

3. Minimizing Excessive Idling

Excessive idling is a hidden drain on fuel resources, with some estimates suggesting that a single long-haul truck can consume 3.6 gallons of fuel a day just by idling. At $4.50 per gallon, that’s $16.20 per day of wasted fuel. That adds up quickly over time and across an entire fleet, leading to a significant resource drain. Idling also contributes to engine wear and tear, further increasing operating costs. 

Thankfully, telematics systems can accurately track and identify instances of excessive idling. By pinpointing when, where, and why idling is happening, fleet managers can implement specific, effective policies or provide targeted driver training to minimize idling times. This proactive approach results in substantial savings, reducing fuel wastage and associated costs, and prolongs vehicle life by reducing unnecessary engine use.

4. Optimizing Route Planning

Routing inefficiencies, such as long detours and traffic congestion, can increase fuel consumption significantly. Reports estimate that traffic congestion alone increases the cost of freight transport by nearly $75 billion annually — an expense that both producers and consumers must bear. 

Telematics systems, however, can combat these inefficiencies. They provide real-time data on traffic conditions, road closures, and even weather conditions, thus allowing for dynamic route planning. Using this data to plan and optimize routes, fleets can avoid obstacles, streamline operations, and significantly improve fuel efficiency

Moreover, telematics systems allow fleet managers to monitor trucks in transit, enabling them to make route adjustments on-the-fly as necessary, further enhancing efficiency. In a business where time is money, the ability to quickly and effectively react to unforeseen circumstances on the road is invaluable.

5. Enhancing Vehicle Maintenance

A well-maintained vehicle operates more efficiently, consumes less fuel, and has a longer lifespan. Fleet telematics systems play an essential role in keeping trucks in optimal condition. They monitor vehicle performance parameters such as engine temperature, tire pressure, and brake condition and track maintenance schedules. They can also provide alerts for preventive maintenance needs and help identify potential issues before they become serious problems. 

In addition, proper installation and maintenance of aerodynamic devices are critical to achieving and maintaining improved fuel efficiency. Well-maintained aerodynamic devices continue to reduce drag and save fuel over the long haul, ensuring fleets reap the maximum benefit from their investment.

Reduce Fuel Costs and Improve Aerodynamics With Fleet Telematics

Fleet telematics and aerodynamics are powerful tools to improve fuel efficiency, enhance safety, and optimize operations. TruckWings is a simple solution to improve truck aerodynamics and optimize fuel efficiency. 

When driving speed reaches 52 mph, TruckWings deploys without driver intervention, closing the gap between cab and trailer and reducing downstream turbulence. Increased back-of-cab pressure makes the tractor-trailer more stable and fuel-efficient, resulting in 3 to 6% MPG savings.

Check out TruckWings or contact us if you’d like to learn more about how fleet telematics and improved aerodynamics can transform your trucking business.

Cut Your Average Trucking Cost per Mile With These 4 Aerodynamic Tips

If you run a trucking fleet, there is one important metric that can have a great impact on your bottom line. The average trucking cost per mile reflects your operation efficiency, and keeping it under control is essential.

With trucking costs at the highest in the 15-year history of ATRI’s Ops, controlling what you can is crucial. You might not be able to prevent a road closure that adds more miles or stop the increase in fuel prices, but there is one thing you can do to reduce your average trucking cost per mile. And it begins with aerodynamics.

In the post, we’ll define the average trucking cost per mile, learn how to calculate it, and discover our aerodynamic strategies to help reduce your average trucking cost per mile and start increasing profits.

What Is the Average Trucking Cost per Mile?

In the trucking industry, the cost per mile refers to the financial cost of driving a truck a single mile.

Knowing this metric can give fleet owners and managers an advantage. Land Line reported that those who knew their operations costs benefited from $1.15 per mile and $1500 more per trip.

Knowing their average trucking cost per mile helped these companies make more data-driven decisions, such as which routes, customers, and trip types are more profitable, and implementing new strategies to help reduce operational expenses.

Calculating Trucking Cost per Mile

You can calculate the trucking cost per mile with the following formula:

Trucking cost per mile =  total costs (expenses) / total number of traveled miles

To find your total costs, you’ll need to combine several cost components. These components include general business expenses like rentals and utilities and administrative costs like accounting, taxes, and salaries. You should also include trucking expenses such as fuel, repairs, tolls, and insurance.

The total number of traveled miles is the entire distance a truck has traveled in a specific timeframe, usually a year.

It can be painful to track expenses manually, especially if your trucks operate hundreds or thousands of miles away. With the development of technology and tools, collecting data and performing analysis much easier, providing detailed information to improve your operation’s efficiencies. 

What Role Does Aerodynamics Play in Cost per Mile?

Making your trucks more aerodynamic can help reduce fuel waste. The more aerodynamic a truck is, the less energy it uses to move, which reduces the average cost per mile for trucking.

NACFE found that improved aerodynamics in commercial tractors is one of the biggest contributors to reduced fleet operating costs. The efficient use of energy also helps reduce harmful emissions. 

You can improve the aerodynamics of the tractor with items such as tractor-trailer gap devices, chassis fairings, and wheel covers. Using a tractor-gap device helps close the gap between the tractor and the trailer to improve aerodynamics and can help reduce fuel costs by up to 5%. 

You can also use a combination of adding more aerodynamic parts, such as bumpers, mirror and cameras, and wheel covers, all of which helps to streamline the airflow and improve fuel efficiency. These changes can improve fuel efficiency, creating savings of up to 10%. Also, the less fuel the truck burns, the longer its engine will last.

4 Aerodynamic Strategies for Reducing Average Trucking Cost per Mile

Making aerodynamic improvements to trucks is one thing you can control. They are an investment that brings long-term savings. Here are four aerodynamic strategies to reduce the average cost per mile for trucking.

1. Try TruckWings

As per AFDC, reducing the drag or resistance of a vehicle when traveling at high speed lowers the engine’s load and improves fuel economy.

One way of helping to reduce drag is to close the gap between the cab and the trailer. TruckWings make this possible. Simply mount it to the cab, and when the truck travels over 52mph, it automatically deploys to close the gap and improve aerodynamics. 

Ryder Systems implemented TruckWings in their fleet, saving their MPG by 3-6% with a 12-18 months ROI. 

2. Optimize fuel efficiency

Because of the size and shape of a truck, the faster it travels, the more energy is required to push through air resistance. Implementing multiple devices can reduce the aerodynamic drag of a truck, lowering fuel consumption by more than 12%.

You should focus on the four main areas that create the most aerodynamic drag on the tractor-trailer:

  • The front of the tractor
  • The gap between the tractor and the trailer
  • The under-body of the trailer
  • The back of the trailer

3. Keep up with routine maintenance

Simple maintenance can help ensure your truck is aerodynamic by optimizing its performance and minimizing drag and sway. Make sure your trucks have the correct air pressure, the right motor oil levels, and change air filters when required. 

Don’t forget the importance of accessories when performing maintenance. Damaged mud flaps and wheel covers can reduce the efforts of streamlining the airflow around the truck. 

In addition, it’s important to ensure the roof fairing is in good condition. Roof fairings can improve fuel economy, resulting in $6,900 in savings annually.

4. Consider wide-base tires

This approach is less common, but you can reduce tire costs and improve aerodynamics simultaneously by using wide-base tires. Wide base tires help to reduce rolling resistance due to eliminating two side walls, and they are slimmer, reducing the surface area that makes contact with the road. 

Optimize Aerodynamics and Improve Profitability With TruckLabs

Optimizing the aerodynamics of your trucking fleet can help reduce the average cost per mile for trucking. And in under two hours, TruckWings can help you to save 3-6% of fuel costs.

If you want to join five of the ten largest fleets in North America, enjoying improved fuel economy and less emissions, schedule a free consultation.

Truck Fleet Management: How To Boost Your Fleet’s Efficiency

Truck fleet management is a complex process.

It requires careful consideration of driver training, maintenance costs, fuel efficiency, and federal regulations — all while trying to minimize costs for your business. 

In this post, we’ll cover some of the ways you can streamline fleet management and control your costs.  

What Are the Key Elements of Effective Truck Fleet Management?

The following list outlines the key components of successful fleet management.

Driver Recruitment and Hiring

Even if human resources personnel manage the recruitment and hiring process, fleet managers are usually involved in the driver-vetting process. They may also manage performance evaluations, driver salary increases, and progressive discipline.

Driver and Route Management

Fleet managers are responsible for overseeing and optimizing routes, scheduling drivers, and ensuring drivers maintain proper credentials.

Driver Monitoring

With large, long-haul fleets, fleet managers have to evaluate driver performance remotely. That typically means reviewing hours-of-service logs and using GPS to see where drivers are in real-time. 

Idling or rapidly accelerating can increase fuel consumption, so fleet managers may also review fuel usage to spot these driving habits.   

Overseeing Maintenance

Preventative maintenance (PM) is the process of scheduling maintenance to keep trucks in good working order. It may also involve predictive maintenance (PdM) technology that monitors truck performance and alerts fleet managers when something isn’t working properly.

Allocating Resources

Managing a truck fleet requires mindfulness of how you’re allocating resources to determine whether you need to:

  • Add new trucks
  • Retire or upgrade old ones
  • Find new software solutions to support fleet management
  • Bring on new personnel
  • Schedule additional training for drivers

Ensuring compliance

Fleet managers may be responsible for creating and enforcing internal policies that relate to driving and drivers. They also oversee driver and truck compliance with applicable state and federal regulations.     


Managing Fuel Costs

Fuel costs are a major expense, and reducing them is a big part of fleet management. Fleet managers may use a combination of approaches to minimize fuel costs, such as: 

  • Optimizing routes
  • Eliminating less-than-truckload deliveries
  • Adding alt-fuel vehicles to their fleet
  • Outfitting trucks with aerodynamic devices

Controlling fuel costs is an ongoing task, especially because the cost of diesel is so unpredictable. 

What Are the Challenges Fleet Managers Face Today?

Fleet managers face challenges that can increase costs and decrease efficiency if they don’t use the right solutions.

Here are some common issues fleet managers face.

Recruiting and Retaining Drivers

The transportation industry faces a shortage of 80,000 drivers, and the American Trucking Associations predict this number to reach 160,000 by 2030.

So, finding and keeping quality drivers is essential for the success of your fleet. Poorly trained or inexperienced drivers can lead to unnecessary costs, while experienced, well-trained drivers keep your fleet running safely and efficiently.

You’ll need to establish an effective recruitment strategy that includes:

  • Employee referrals
  • Online postings
  • Driver incentives

Complying With Laws and Emissions Standards

Fleet managers must stay up to date with federal, state, and local regulations to ensure compliance.

Understanding these rules is essential for avoiding costly fines and other penalties. Remember that regulations vary by state, making it more difficult for companies in interstate commerce to keep track of them.

For example, the California Air Resource Board (CARB) no longer registers diesel vehicles that weigh over 14,000 pounds or have engines from 2009 or earlier. So, you may need to upgrade or replace vehicles to meet emissions standards.

Unpredictable Fuel Costs

The cost of diesel depends on foreign market fluctuations and supply chain costs.

This makes it difficult to budget for the fleet because of unpredictable fuel prices. To help offset this unpredictability, you can use multiple approaches to maximize efficiency and reduce fuel expenditures.

You can increase fleet efficiency through aerodynamic devices such as side skirts and gap reducers, which drag on the truck. Another solution is to use advanced analytics and truck tracking technology to monitor driver behavior.

This will enable you to identify issues like idling, speeding, and excessive braking that can increase fuel costs.

What Resources Can Help With Fleet Management?

Boosting efficiency and profitability with a reliable fleet management system is essential to any business that specializes in commercial vehicles.

Plenty of tools and technologies are available to help you manage your fleet. Fleet managers who take advantage of these resources can ensure their fleets run optimally, enabling them to maintain a competitive edge.

Alternative Fuels

Biodiesel and natural gas can help reduce emissions while keeping costs low.

There are also various incentives, grants, and tax credits that can help fleets manage the costs of switching to alternative fuels.

Gas Discount Cards

Gas discount cards help you save money on fuel without your drivers having to search for the best prices. Many of these cards also link to an app that tracks fuel expenses, so you get real-time visibility into your fuel costs.  


Hiring Bonuses and Benefits

Recruiting and retaining quality drivers is essential to the success of your fleet.

Consider offering perks like:

  • Sign-on bonuses
  • Health insurance
  • A 401(k) plan
  • Paid time off
  • Tuition reimbursement 

Telematics Systems

Some in-cab technology falls short of what fleet managers need. For example, the earliest lane departure warning systems issued driver alerts but didn’t record lane departures, which means fleet managers might not know if drivers were prone to drifting off while behind the wheel. Telematics combines software and hardware to sense events or conditions as they occur and relay that information to a digital platform that fleet managers can access. 

One application of this tech is TruckWings, an aerodynamic device that minimizes drag, improves stability, and reduces fuel costs by up to 6%. Software deploys the “wings” based on driving speed and collects data, with no input needed from drivers.   

Take Control of Your Fleet Management With TruckLabs

Contact us today to learn how TruckWings can lower your fuel costs.

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

The EPA announced a proposal on April 12, 2023, to revise existing standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from heavy-duty vehicles for 2027, and set new, more stringent standards for model years 2028 through 2032. This proposed program, called “Phase 3 greenhouse gas,” builds upon the success of two previous rulemakings, Phase 1 greenhouse gas, and Phase 2 greenhouse gas, which have already reduced greenhouse gas emissions from heavy-duty vehicles and engines.
The Phase 3 greenhouse gas standards will apply to heavy-duty vocational vehicles such as delivery trucks, refuse haulers, public utility trucks, transit, shuttle, school buses, and tractors such as day cabs and sleeper cabs on tractor-trailer trucks. This proposal complements EPA’s recently-finalized standards to control air pollution from new heavy-duty engines and vehicles and EPA’s proposed rule addressing multi-pollutant emissions for model years 2027 and later light-duty and medium-duty vehicles.
These three actions align with the “Clean Trucks Plan.” By implementing these new standards, we can work towards a more sustainable future that prioritizes reducing the environmental impact of our transportation systems.

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.

Truck Fleet Maintenance: How Upkeep Saves Money in the Long Run

Truck Maintenance


Routine truck fleet maintenance takes time, but it’s essential for preventing breakdowns. It also keeps trucks running efficiently, which means fleet owners save money in the long run. 

Given that new truck production slowed in 2022 due to parts shortages, keeping your current trucks in good working order should be a priority.

In this post, we’ll talk about the benefits of truck maintenance and offer some additional tips on how to manage your fleet costs. 

What Does Truck Fleet Maintenance Include? 

Commercial truck fleet maintenance includes preventive service, such as oil changes, air filter replacement, and brake inspection. It also includes emergency service — although, a regular maintenance schedule helps prevent the need for emergency repairs.

Benefits of Truck Fleet Maintenance

These are the main benefits of maintaining commercial trucks:

Improved Fuel Economy

Properly maintained trucks are more efficient in terms of fuel consumption. Regular oil changes and filter replacements help keep the engine running at peak efficiency. And according to one study, fleets that follow a strict maintenance schedule can see fuel consumption improvements of 5-10%.

Reduced Operating Costs

Preventive maintenance helps identify potential problems before they become costly repairs. This saves money by keeping vehicles on the road longer and reducing labor costs associated with repair work. 

Increased Safety 

By regularly checking tires, brakes, lights, and other components, you can ensure your fleet is operating safely. 

Lower Emissions

A well-maintained engine produces fewer emissions, which is beneficial for the environmental and helps improve air quality. Some states have enacted emissions-control laws that may force fleets to either reduce their emissions or pay fines for non-compliance.

Prevents Out-of-Service Orders

When a truck fails a safety inspection, an inspector can issue an out-of-service order. That means a carrier might be unable to complete a scheduled delivery, which can result in dissatisfied customers and disruptions in the supply chain. 

Tips for Effective Truck Fleet Maintenance

Allow for Staff Training

To effectively maintain a truck fleet, technicians must have proper training. Invest in adequate staff training and build time for it into staff schedules. Keep in mind that additional training may be necessary if you switch to trucks with alternative fuel sources. 

Use of Quality Parts and Supplies

The use of quality parts is another key factor for effective truck fleet maintenance. Poorly manufactured components can lead to unexpected breakdowns, costly repairs, and increased downtime. That’s why it’s important to invest in high-quality parts from reputable suppliers who offer warranties on their products for added peace of mind.


Lastly, proper documentation and recordkeeping is necessary for accurate tracking of vehicle information such as mileage, service records, and warranty coverage details. This helps track maintenance expenses over time and ensures you have an audit-ready service log, should inspectors ask to see it.  

Detailed records also make it easier to spot patterns involving specific vehicles within your fleet.  

Additional Ways to Minimize Fleet Operation Costs

Regular maintenance does help trucks run more efficiently, but even so, the cost of fuel can be significant for large fleets. Fuel cards can help drivers save on diesel, and there’s another way to cut fuel costs that requires no driver action: TruckWings. 

TruckWings is a telematics-powered aerodynamic device that reduces drag and trailer sway on the highway. It deploys automatically when driving speed exceeds 52 mph, closing the gap between tractor and trailer. And it retracts when speed drops below 50 mph.

TruckWings installs easily and requires minimal maintenance. And technicians don’t need special training to maintain TruckWings — just perform a visual inspection as part of your truck fleet maintenance schedule. When it’s time to replace parts, you can order them from us and follow our simple maintenance instructions. 

Let TruckWings Do the Work

Overseeing a fleet is a lot of work. But when you install TruckWings to improve your fuel economy, it continues saving you money with almost no human effort. 

Learn more about how TruckWings helped one of the largest North American fleets cut its fuel costs.

11 Effective Fuel Saving Devices for Semi Trucks

Over the last two years, fuel prices have seen a dramatic increase.

In May of 2020, gas prices reached a $1.961 per gallon low, then steadily climbed to an all-time high of $5.032 per gallon in June of 2022. Diesel prices mirrored this trend, with a low of $2.392 per gallon and a high of $5.754 during the same period.

With inflation on the rise, it wouldn’t be surprising if even higher prices are right around the corner.

What does this mean for trucking fleets? Fuel typically accounts for 60% or more of operating costs, so steep fuel prices can quickly decimate a fleet budget. The simplest way to offset high prices is to use less fuel but the question is, how?

Some fleets may consider adding EVs to their lineup, but the acquisition and operational costs typically don’t offset fuel cost savings. A more affordable approach is to purchase fuel saving devices for semi trucks, which can easily be added to existing fleet assets.

Which are the best fuel saving devices for semi trucks? These 11 semi trucks fuel saving devices can help fleets become more fuel efficient and make up for rising fuel costs.

1. TruckWings

How it works: Did you know the gap between a truck’s cab and trailer is a fuel waster? TruckWings closes this gap to reduce drag, improve stability, and increase fuel efficiency.

The tractor-mounted device deploys automatically at speeds above 52 mph to improve aerodynamics and reduce buffeting and trailer sway in crosswinds. The device then retracts when the speed dips below 50 mph. No action is needed by the driver to deploy TruckWings — eyes stay on the road and hands stay on the wheel.

Results: Users of TruckWings see 3-6% in fuel savings. That can add up to thousands of dollars in savings per truck and millions across an entire fleet. And since TruckWings is equipped with real-time telematics, fleets can easily track their return on investment.

TruckWings outperforms even the longest side-extenders on the market, making it one of the best fuel saving devices for semi trucks. So perhaps it’s not surprising that half of the 10 largest North American fleets have used TruckWings, which have stood up across 500 million miles.

Each TruckWings device also reduces 20,000 lbs/yr in carbon emissions, or the equivalent of taking two passenger cars off roadways every year, so the sustainability gains can be huge across an entire fleet.

Ryder System, Inc. tested TruckWings across 2.7 million miles and saw a 4.1% mpg improvement.

You can too.

2. Trailer Skirts

How they work: Trailer skirts extend along the side of the trailer, from the landing gear to the front face of the front trailer axle. The most effective trailer skirts extend as low to the ground as possible. Also called “fairing,” these devices reduce aerodynamic drag on the trailer.

Results: These fuel saving devices for semi trucks typically offer up to a 5% improvement in fuel economy.

3. Roof Fairings

How they work: Roof fairings are similar to trailer skirts but are installed on the roof of tractor-trailers instead of along the side. These fuel saving devices for semi trucks improve aerodynamics by closing the gap when a significant height difference exists between a cab and a container.

Results: Depending on the type, roof fairings can reduce fuel use by 3-15%. However, these are not the best fuel saving devices for semi trucks pulling flatbeds because they can’t close the gap. Roof fairings would not be needed for semi trucks that can reduce drag simply by raising the tire height.

4. Low Rolling Resistance Tires

How they work: Rolling resistance — the friction that occurs when the surface of tires meets the road — accounts for 30-33% of the total fuel cost of a modern, aerodynamic Class 8 truck. Low rolling resistance (LRR) tires lower the resistance to improve fuel economy.

Results: A 10% drop in rolling resistance equates to about a 1% improvement in fuel economy. Fleet owners should be aware that LRR tires can wear out quickly, and because most manufacturers don’t publish their rolling resistance coefficients, there can be big differences between tire options, even if they are SmartWay certified.

5. GPS Route Planners

How they work: GPS route planners are fuel saving devices because they optimize routes to reduce the miles driven, thereby reducing fuel use.

Results: Every mile shaved off a trip saves fuel. Results of this semi truck fuel saving device will vary based on miles traveled and how efficient routes were before implementing the GPS solution.

6. Tire Inflation Systems

How they work: Tire monitoring or tire inflation systems keep tires inflated to their proper pressure. Some systems may require a driver to inflate tires when notified pressure is low, while others may automatically inflate the tires.

Results: Proper tire inflation can improve fuel economy by 0.6% on average and up to 3%.

7. Wheel Covers

How they work: Wheel covers improve aerodynamics by reducing drag around the wheels.

Results: Wheel cover kits can reduce fuel consumption by approximately 1% for both tractors and trailers. Combined, this equates to 2.61 gallons of fuel saved for every 1,000 miles driven.

8. Electronic Engine Monitoring

How they work: Electronic engine monitors measure driving performance to identify fuel-wasting behavior, such as hard braking and rapid acceleration. 

Results: Results will vary for these fuel saving devices for semi trucks based on how much driving habits have improved but could have a 20-30% improvement on overall fuel efficiency.

9. Automated Manual Transmissions

How they work: Automated manual transmissions (AMTs) have a manual gearbox, but instead of requiring the driver to shift, the clutch and gearshifts are controlled electronically to maximize engine use. AMTs monitor changing roadway conditions like road grade, acceleration, and vehicle speed, then instantly shift to the most efficient gear, saving fuel in the process.  

Results: AMTs improve fuel economy by 1% to 3%.

10. Anti-Idle Devices

How they work: Truck drivers idle engines for good reasons: keeping the engine block warm, heating and cooling the cabin when they rest, and powering cabin appliances. But doing so consumes almost a gallon of diesel fuel per hour and constitutes nearly 8% of total fuel use. Anti-idling devices provide alternative power sources to idling for these functions.

Results: A direct-fired heater that warms the engine block and provides heat for the cabin reduces fuel use during idling by 75%. Another anti-idle device is an auxiliary power unit (APU) — a generator powered by diesel fuel or batteries to heat and cool the cabin and power appliances. Diesel APUs reduce fuel consumption by 75% or more over idling.

11. Adaptive and Predictive Cruise Control

How they work: Adaptive cruise control enhances regular cruise control using a radar or laser sensor to sense the traffic ahead and adjust vehicle speed to maintain a safe distance. Predictive cruise control uses GPS to analyze the topography of upcoming sections of road for improved uphill and downhill driving.

Results: Cruise control, predictive cruise control, and adaptive cruise control can reduce fuel consumption by 1-10%. 

Reduce Your Fuel Costs 

When it comes to fuel saving devices for semi trucks, fleet owners have options.

If you’re ready to improve your fleet efficiency, learn more about how TruckWings can help you save up to 6% in fuel costs.

9 Tips to Reduce Fleet Fuel Costs in 2023

The rising cost of fuel can put a strain on any business’ budget.

And that’s especially true for fleet managers. Automotive Fleet reports that fuel can account for 60% of the running costs of a fleet. That’s why it’s important to reduce fleet fuel costs and maximize the efficiency of your vehicles.

There are strategies you can try to reduce your fleet’s fuel costs. Let’s explore how to calculate fleet fuel costs and identify potential areas for savings.

How to Calculate Fleet Fuel Costs

You have two options for calculating fleet fuel costs:

The first is to monitor the cost of fuel manually with receipts or spreadsheets, a time-consuming process that can prove difficult to manage. 

Manual tracking also raises the risk of human error. For example, a driver may forget to record a transaction or lose a receipt. 

Alternatively, you can use an automated solution to calculate fuel costs, like GPS tracking or an integrated vehicle management system (VMS). GPS tracking systems track a vehicle’s fuel use in dollars or gallons, offering more accurate data. Plus, these systems can monitor how efficiently your drivers are using fuel and alert you to potential problems. 

9 Tips for Reducing Fleet Fuel Costs

Once you understand how to calculate fuel costs, you can implement strategies to reduce them.

Here are nine tips on how to reduce fleet fuel costs in 2023.

1. Keep up with preventative maintenance (PM).

PM, like oil changes and tune-ups, ensures maximum efficiency from each vehicle in your fleet (which will save money on fuel costs).

For instance, tuning up a vehicle can lead to an average increase of 4% in gas mileage.

Another way to improve your fleet’s fuel economy is by switching to synthetic oil, which has a lower viscosity and reduces friction in the engine. Develop a PM program to ensure your vehicles always run at peak performance.

2. Reduce idling.

A vehicle can waste up to half a gallon of fuel per hour while idling. Ensure that drivers know the importance of reducing idling time. 

3. Regularly check tire pressure and keep tires properly inflated.

Proper tire pressure helps reduce drag and improves gas mileage significantly.

Under-inflated tires increase fuel consumption by up to 1% for every 10 pounds per square inch (PSI) decline in pressure.

4. Streamline routes.

Eliminate empty miles by using GPS navigation to streamline routes and reduce the miles your vehicles travel.

According to a sustainability report from digital freight network Convoy, a 1% decrease in empty miles for one truck can save over 100 gallons of fuel.

By ensuring drivers use every mile of a truck’s journey to transport cargo, you reduce the amount of fuel burned, improving your fleet’s efficiency.

Road surface quality also matters. Choose roads with smoother surfaces and fewer speed bumps to reduce the amount of fuel burned.

5. Promote safe driving.

Modifying driver behavior is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce fuel costs.

One habit to encourage is slowing down. When you speed, fuel consumption increases because of air and tire rolling resistance. Following the speed limit improves fuel economy and reduces the risk of accidents.

Other driving behaviors that detract from fuel economy include:

  • Excessive lane changes: Change lanes only when necessary.
  • Fast cornering: Cornering quickly increases drag, so reduce speed when turning.
  • Hard braking: Anticipate stops and reduce speed before you need to brake.
  • Rapid acceleration: Accelerate gradually to reduce strain on the engine and improve fuel efficiency.

To encourage safe driving, implement an incentive program that rewards drivers who exhibit safe driving habits like obeying speed limits.

6. Take advantage of fuel card discounts.

Fuel cards can reduce the cost of fuel at participating gas stations. The Fuelman Deep Saver Fleet Card, for example, offers up to 8 cents per gallon in discounts at over 50,000 participating gas stations. Also, Coast is a Visa fleet fuel and gas card helps fleets control and track employee spending on fuel and other expenses.

Look for cards accepted by the fuel stations your drivers frequent. 

These cards offer more than just discounts. They also provide an easy way to:

  • Access analytics and reports: Get details on fuel purchases and identify areas for improvement.
  • Reduce administrative time: Automate and reduce paperwork associated with fuel purchases.
  • Track fleet purchases: Know how much drivers spend on fuel and where they purchase it.

Find cards with features like spending caps or transaction limits that prevent fuel card abuse. The BP Business Solutions Fuel Plus Program prevents misuse by allowing you to set comprehensive card controls and daily, weekly, or monthly restrictions.

Compare different fuel card providers to ensure you get the best deal.

7. Use electric vehicles (EVs) or alternative fuels.

Using EVs or alternative fuels like biodiesel can reduce fuel costs while making your business eco-friendlier.

Biodiesel is a renewable fuel sourced from animal fats, recycled cooking grease, and vegetable oils to power diesel vehicles. Not only does biodiesel reduce fuel costs, but it also helps fleets comply with the growing number of state and federal emissions regulations.

EVs, which offer high fuel economy, are becoming more popular. But the price of EV trucks might be a barrier to adoption. Some government incentives can lower the purchase price

8. Use technology.

Use fleet management software to reduce fuel costs and track vehicle performance, allowing you to identify potential problems quickly.

Use telematics (informatics + telecommunications) with GPS tracking to monitor driver behavior. You can then provide feedback to drivers on how to reduce fuel consumption and increase efficiency through better driving habits. 

9. Improve aerodynamics.

Improving aerodynamics will reduce drag and increase fuel efficiency. Although chassis fairings and wheel covers can decrease wind resistance, static devices often can’t provide the data fleet managers need to evaluate fuel economy accurately.

Active aerodynamic devices like TruckWings help fleet managers achieve considerable cost savings across large fleets. TruckWings is a telematics-enabled device that reduces drag and provides fleet managers with real-time data and analytics.

When driving speed surpasses 52 mph, the wings automatically deploy to close the space between the tractor and trailer. Bridging this gap improves fuel efficiency by lessening buffeting, turbulence, and trailer sway downstream. 

When speed drops below 50 mph, the wings automatically retract to ensure maximum maneuverability and easy handling at lower speeds.

Reduce Your Fleet Fuel Costs With TruckWings

Implementing these solutions can reduce fuel consumption while improving performance and efficiency across the entire fleet.

And if you have reservations about any investments you’ll have to make upfront, consider the future savings. Advanced technologies like TruckWings can increase miles per gallon by 3% to 6% with a 12- to 18-month return on investment (ROI) amounting to millions of dollars per fleet.

From its easy installation and intuitive software platform to its dynamic data capture capabilities, TruckWings ensures a smooth transition from manual processes to innovative vehicle optimization. It’s no wonder that five of the 10 largest fleets in North America turned to TruckWings for help in reducing their fuel costs.

Start your journey toward reducing your fleet fuel costs today. Contact us for a free consultation to learn more.

Will CNG Trucks Help Fleet Owners Reduce Emissions?

Sustainability has become an important issue in the trucking industry, with many fleet owners and their customers pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years. Even as diesel fuel has become “cleaner” than ever before, diesel-powered trucks are still a top cause of harmful emissions. 

In an effort to reduce their carbon footprint — and reduce fuel costs — some fleet owners are looking at alternatives to diesel, one of which is CNG.

What Is CNG?

CNG — compressed natural gas — is a processed byproduct of fossil fuels in the ground. It’s an environmentally friendly alternative to gasoline, propane, and diesel and can power trucks with CNG-compatible engines. 

According to ACT Research’s Alternative Fuels Quarterly, in the first five months of 2021, sales of Class 8 natural gas trucks rose 19% in the U.S. and Canada compared to the same time period in 2020. 

Advantages of CNG trucks

These are some of the advantages of CNG-powered trucks:

Reduced emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions are 20% lower for CNG trucks than diesel trucks. 

Lower fuel costs

In July 2022, of eight conventional and alternative fuels, CNG had the lowest price, at $3.12 per DGE (diesel gallon equivalent). It also had the smallest April-to-July price increase.


Accurate cost forecasts

CNG is abundantly available in the U.S., so it’s not subject to the price fluctuations associated with foreign oil, or major supply chain disruptions. That means fleet managers can accurately forecast fuel costs

Enhanced safety

CNG is non-toxic, and because it’s gas, it can’t contaminate groundwater or soil in the way liquid diesel can. In the event of a tank rupture, CNG quickly dissipates into the atmosphere.

Unlike diesel trucks, CNG trucks produce no noxious fumes — that’s a big benefit for sanitation workers and other people who work on or near Class 8 trucks. 

Quieter operation

CNG engines are 10 decibels quieter than diesel engines. A U.S. Department of Energy case study reported that after the New York City Department of Sanitation began using CNG trucks, workers could listen to the radio on routes, which wasn’t possible in diesel trucks. 


The federal government offers funding and grants for municipalities and public institutions seeking to switch to CNG-powered trucks. In Indiana, the City of Portage Street and Sanitation Department replaced its garbage truck fleet with CNG trucks, thanks to the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. 

Barriers to CNG truck adoption

Despite the obvious benefits of natural gas trucks, there are some barriers to widespread usage.

Fewer fueling stations

CNG fueling stations are located mostly in densely populated areas. Depending on transit routes, some fleets may be unable to use CNG trucks. 


Lack of trained technicians

CNG engines run cleaner than diesel engines, which means fleets may need fewer scheduled service appointments. But finding CNG-trained technicians and shops could be a challenge. 

Shops that service CNG engines must be CNG-approved and have fire marshal certification for proper ventilation. Only certified high-pressure technicians can work on the fuel tanks, and fuel system inspectors must have CNG-specific training.  


Businesses that don’t qualify for grants may find the cost of CNG trucks prohibitive. Conversion kits for heavy-duty vehicles start at $1,875 and don’t include the fuel tank. New Class 8 tractors cost about $170,000, compared to $120,000 for a diesel tractor. 

Technology for Better Trucking

Whether you’re switching to CNG or sticking with diesel, there are steps you can take to lower your fuel costs, fuel usage, and emissions.

TruckWings by TruckLabs is a drag-reduction device with aerodynamic panels that close the gap between tractor and trailer when speed exceeds 52 mph. The panels deploy automatically, and retract when speed drops below 50 mph. This durable, low-maintenance solution takes less than two hours to install and works for most tractors — both diesel and CNG.

Learn more about how TruckWings can help you cut costs and lower emissions, with or without CNG trucks.