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Data collected by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests that trucking accounts
for 6.67% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. This is roughly the equivalent of 418
million metric tons of carbon dioxide in a single year.
However, trucking is an increasingly eco-friendly industry due to market pressures.
Environmental responsibility is at the forefront of many B2C firms, as more consumers are
opting for sustainable products and services. As such, trucking firms that use data to reduce
their carbon emissions and minimize their impact on the environment can attract clients that
want to clean up their supply chain.
Like most energy-intensive industries, modern-day trucking firms are being forced to tighten
their carbon belts and take their commitments to environmental responsibility seriously. The
increase in legal regulations may put a temporary dent in some firms’ profits, but the move to
control heavy-duty diesel NOx emissions and electrify Class 6, 7, and 8 vehicles may improve
long-term profitability while reducing pollution.
Trucking firms that truly care about the environment can use data to get ahead of regulations
and set ambitious sustainability goals. Efforts to collect emissions data can improve the
accuracy of offset spending and help decision-makers spot operational inefficiencies like paper
waste and storage mismanagement.
Data collection can help trucking firms apply for green grants and government funding, too.
Switching from diesel to an electric fleet will be expensive and firms that make the switch may
incur some unexpected costs. By collecting data related to fuel consumption and common
routes, trucking companies can advocate for more electric “fueling” stops and green energy
Optimizing Delivery Schedules
Trucking companies live or die by their ability to fulfill orders in a timely manner. As such,
optimizing the delivery schedule is imperative for any trucker that has to manage multiple clients
while reducing the operating costs associated with delivering goods across the nation.
Trucking companies can improve their delivery schedule by optimizing their routes using data.
Data sources like GPS tracking and telematics vehicle tracking can be put through complex
routing algorithms to automatically calculate the most efficient route. Given the right parameters,
these algorithms can even account for weather fluctuations and real-world problems that drivers
Trucking giant Amazon has already rolled out its first EV HGV fleet in the U.K. Five vehicles
alone will reduce carbon emissions by 170 tonnes and usher in a new era of green trucking.
However, charging an EV fleet can be tricky. Trucking companies will need to account for the
relative lack of charging stations and carefully orchestrate their delivery routes to erase the risk
of running low on power or driving “empty” miles.
Reducing Empty Miles
Empty miles are the bane of profitable, eco-friendly trucking firms. Trucking firms lose money
while pulling an empty load and burn through a significant amount of fuel without any purpose.
Empty miles usually occur when truckers aren’t near any load boards and, as such, can’t refill
their trucks with suitable cargo.
Trucking firms can use data personalization to support sustainability efforts and reduce empty
miles. Data personalization can account for nearby load boards while using GPS and real-time traffic updates to plot the most fuel-efficient route. This can help individual drivers find load
boards that are right for their trucks and align with the rest of their routes.
The onus to reduce carbon emissions and embrace environmental responsibility largely falls on
the firms that employ individual truckers. However, firms can follow through on their commitment
to combating climate change by teaching truckers to drive more efficiently and follow
Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) regulations.
Data-driven technology firms like Vigillo already use driver data and CSA reporting to identify
patterns in staff turnover and regulation violations. Electronic logging devices are used to record
key data points like distance traveled, hours of service, and commodity information. This data-
driven approach reduces fatigue and improves employee satisfaction.
However, the data collected by systems like Vigillo can be used to identify common fulfillment
errors and reduce carbon emissions too. Key data points like load weight, fuel efficiency, and
loading organization can have a significant impact on a trucking company’s total carbon
emissions. This data can be paired with GPS systems that inform dispatchers and help truckers
better plan their trips.
Data management can correct aggressive driving, too. Aggressive driving increases the release
of nitrous oxide due to the high energy demand following sudden acceleration. This undermines
trucking companies’ attempts to run an environmentally responsible organization and puts
drivers at risk. Trucking companies can reduce their GHG footprint by up to 40% by advocating
for calmer driving in urban areas and on highways.
Trucking is an energy-intensive industry. However, efforts are being made to reduce carbon
emissions and reduce waste. Firms that are serious about their environmental responsibility can
start by tracking their driver data to optimize their routing, reduce the prevalence of empty loads
and mitigate aggressive driving. This will significantly improve the company’s energy efficiency
and may even boost long-term profitability.