Automating the reduction of fuel consumption and carbon emissions

What 22% of the Top 100 Trucking Companies
of 2001 didn't know and why they're out of
business today

Did you know that 22% of the top 100 fleets from 2000 are no longer in business? I’m sure it’s easy to believe it’s not because they made one or two huge mistakes, it’s because they didn’t pay attention to the little things. The things that while seemingly small by themselves incrementally made the difference between profit and loss and ultimately success or failure.

If in the next five minutes we provided some key solutions to the top three areas that result in the highest loss of revenue for every trucking and transportation company, would you be interested? Then read on.
Many management teams fail to factor the cost of aggressive driving in their measurably higher fuel, tire and maintenance costs. Underestimating the impact of these increased costs can devastate profits.
The fact that driver behavior is the single greatest factor associated with the cost of operating your mobile assets is common industry knowledge. That’s why you see companies offering so many options to try and assist the industry to deal with aggressive driver behavior. From driver attenuation, defensive/efficient driver training, incentive programs, the list goes on. It’s easy to understand why trucking and transportation companies would spend thousands of dollars on these types of programs, when they potentially have millions to save if they accomplish a permanent consistent solution to aggressive driving.
Government organizations like the US Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as well as industry organizations, manufactures and more have spent valuable resources to show the true cost of aggressive driving. They have identified fuel consumption, maintenance and safety as the three most costly areas affected by aggressive driving. These are truly the big three and according to those studies can add substantial dollars to the bottom line if a real solution can be found and implemented. Let’s look at the data to see what the costs of aggressive driving are, in these three areas;
The cost of aggressive driving for a large truck or bus in the U.S. is estimated at up to $0.037-$0.101 per mile on Interstates and expressways and up to $0.050-$0.065 per mile on non-Interstate roads. These per-mile figures incorporate the direct and indirect costs of crashes, increased maintenance, and higher fuel consumption attributable to aggressive driving.
The programs listed above intended to help drivers learn and implement better, safer and more efficient driving habits and can offer real benefits to fleets, however one overlying factor is true for each of them, and that is, the driver must consistently cooperate in order for them to produce optimal results. It’s said that it’s tough to teach an old dog new tricks.
Aggressive acceleration is considered to be the most costly aspect of aggressive driving for a number of reasons. One without question it is the number one reason for excessive fuel consumption. Second as it relates to excessive maintenance costs jack rabbit starts and aggressive acceleration around sharp corners are known to be some of the most stressful conditions for the drive train, especially the tires. Third the impact on safety is obvious. Aggressive driving is estimated to be associated with as many as 50 to 70% of all collisions.
What if there was a way to receive many of the benefits of the most cost conscious driver 100% of the time.
When a company sizes the engine for the truck it must be sized for the greatest demand, in other words the heaviest load the truck will carry. Although in many applications the weight of the load varies. It’s in those times that one would have to agree the truck is overpowered and likely burning more fuel than would be required.
According to Volvo their 460 HP engine burns 27.62 gallons per hour, their 355 HP engine burns 21.44 gallons per hour and their 330 HP engine burns 19.82 gallons per hour. Quite a difference between the three different horsepower engines in fuel consumption. A solution to saving fuel would be if the trucks horsepower could be changed to meet the demand. Most would agree that would save fuel if, and that’s the keyword, if it could be done. Well, if you put that 460 HP engine on the dyno and press the pedal all the way, the readout would show 460 HP. But if with that same engine one was to press the pedal less than all the way the readout would indicate a horsepower something less than 460. So it could be surmised that if one could control the horsepower output of the engine based on the demand, or weight of the load, the outcome would be optimal performance and increased fuel economy, and they would be correct. Additionally, because with less HP available the truck cannot be driven as aggressively, other benefits would be reduced stress on the drive train, as well as less aggressive acceleration. 
Remember earlier in this article we showed the statistic of $.037 to $.101 additional cost per mile driven for large trucks and busses that is contributed to aggressive driving? $.01 to $.015 per mile is the estimated cost for increased maintenance and $0.019 to $0.050 per mile to increased accidents, with the balance being increased fuel consumption. It’s easy to see that aggressive driving can be costing a fleet thousands of dollars per month and millions of dollars each year. It’s not so important that the fleet agree with what their costs are in these areas due to aggressive acceleration only that they understand it can be substantial and that it warrants attention.
Here is one solution that has the potential to address all three areas; fuel consumption, maintenance and safety, while potentially adding millions back to your bottom line. The FMZ manages the horsepower based on the weight of the load. It’s a simple process that requires no permanent modifications to the truck and like we discussed regarding the horsepower rating on the dyno, by simply controlling how much of the accelerator pedal the driver can use, you control their access to the horsepower and the end result is a truck whose engine is sized in real time to the demand. One of the questions that are often asked is, will the driver have enough power? Well if you purchased the truck with a 330 HP engine because you were only hauling those lighter loads and only required that HP would that ever be a question, of course not. It is certainly enough horsepower for that particular application at that particular demand, and the end result is economy in areas that bring significant savings to the bottom line. Another question we’re asked is will it void the manufactures warranty? The answer is no. The FMZ meets or exceeds the standards required for all electronic accelerator pedals and is sold by a number of the truck dealerships themselves. Now the fleet can successfully have the power needed without wasting fuel.

Steve Robbins
Diesel Technical Innovations

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