The first thought that comes to mind on why the MPG of your commercial heavy-duty Class 8 truck matters is fuel efficiency. However, there are also other areas to think about when it comes to your individual truck’s MPG. Areas such as safety and good driving habits, maintenance or durability of truck, and of course IFTA.
When it comes to fuel efficiency, there are fleets that have reduced their overall fuel consumption by implementing new engine technology, better aerodynamics components, and on-board monitoring.
Other fleets or motor carriers focus on safety and holding their drivers accountable to practice good driving habits. They look at things like managing speed, no rapid acceleration, minimizing idling, shifting gears properly, coasting when you can and before stopping, shifting to neutral, planning routes in advance to avoid traffic jams, and they don’t carry unnecessary weight.
Some fleets look at proper maintenance. They teach and expect their drivers to not do heavy breaking, to monitor tires and tire pressure. They use low viscosity lubricants, put the proper engine size to work for the loads they are moving, and use highly efficient engine parts like high efficiency alternators.
Another way to improve your fuel efficiency, some experts say, is with preventive maintenance. They also say that running a new truck is typically more cost effective than a truck that is over 7 years old. Fuel efficiency is better with new trucks than on older models. If the numbers make sense for your business to substitute your old trucks with new trucks, motor carriers should do it.
When it comes to IFTA, keeping an eye on your MPG is crucial, because this is the first indicator that shows whether you are reporting your IFTA information correctly or not. In other words, the MPG in your IFTA report to your base jurisdiction can be the first red flag that goes up for auditors. Depending on how your run your trucks and the loads you are moving, your MPG will tell the story. For example, if you haul heavy equipment in a mountainous terrain, your MPG will most likely be low. Your engine is burning more fuel than in a scenario where you are moving a half-full van trailer on flat roads.
Some of the recommendations you should considered, based on fuel efficiency research and experienced fleets that thrive on reducing their fuel costs, are the following:
- Performance programs (safety, production, fuel economy) for drivers.
- Vehicle MPG data analysis can help fleets of all sizes manage their fuel cost.
- Maintenance for fuel economy along with preventive maintenance.
- According to the North American Council for Freight Efficiency, there are 10 actions fleets and manufacturers must do to achieve 10+ MPG. These are:
- Build a culture of implementing proper technologies that fit fleets
- Keep equipment well maintained
- Figure out the right axle configuration
- Provide tools to reduce idle time
- Educate and give incentives to drivers that care
- Adopt the proper trailer aerodynamics
- Embrace low rolling resistance tires
- Use all available tractor aerodynamics
- Optimize cruise control and vehicle speed
- Use downsped powertrains and AMTs
As for IFTA, you should know your truck’s MPG so when doing your IFTA report your MPG should be equal or close to the MPG you know.
- Keep your MPG consistent from quarter to quarter when reporting for IFTA. This way you minimize your risk of an audit.
- Include all your mileage for the quarter and your fuel receipts so you can get the correct MPG.
- Use a program that has been built for IFTA reporting to make it simple but makes you feel certain that you are doing your IFTA reports correctly.
Source: NACFE 2018 Annual Fleet Fuel Study