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Managed Fleets Saving Money Trucking Industry

Solutions to Optimize Energy Use Across America

solutions to saving energyThis is a guest post from Tim Smith. Tim writes about home improvement and energy efficiency for Modernize.

Government agencies and big industry face fleet-management problems that dwarf simple conservation techniques. Industry uses 25 percent of domestic energy for transportation costs, so finding holistic and sustainable solutions at all levels of manufacturing is essential for optimizing energy usage in the United States. Technologies that are changing the ways government and industry managers look at transportation and fleet management include hybrid cars, hybrid tires, cleaner biofuels, tanks that burn natural gas, hydrogen fuel cells and nitrogen tire inflation.

Reducing Fuel Consumption and Emissions

More people now live in urban areas than elsewhere, a dynamic that’s changed how people live, work and interact. Billions of people living in close proximity requires thoughtful solutions to reduce energy usage, lower harmful emissions and maximize limited resources.

Effects of Using High-purity Nitrogen in Tires

Nitrogen provides a sustainable solution for optimizing energy usage. Scientists and engineers have long known about the benefits of using pure nitrogen in tires, and the airline and NASCAR industries adopted the practice decades ago. Benefits of nitrogen inflation include:

● Delivering up to six percent better mileage than compressed air

● Reducing leakage from tires

● Minimizing rust in auto components, which is caused by the oxygen and moisture content of regular compressed air leaking from tires under high pressure

● Increasing lifespan of tires up to 30 percent by minimizing the harmful effects of oxygen on rubber

Bridgestone, Ford and Goodyear have conducted scientific research that proves nitrogen penetrates tires three or four times more slowly than corrosive air. Tires inflated with pure nitrogen get better mileage, deliver more even wear and increase auto safety.

Cutting-edge Companies and Technology

Businesses and government agencies can lead by example, and NitroFleet99 helps these companies adopt the technology, manage transportation fleets and invest in nitrogen-inflation technology that provides long-term cost and aesthetic benefits. About 70 percent of domestic fuel consumption is generated by the transportation industry, and fleets can save 6 percent in costs right off the top while reducing the 300 million abandoned tires each year by 30 percent.

Developing countries often have advantages when it comes to optimizing energy usage because it’s easier to design efficient systems from the gate than retrofit aging systems to reduce carbon footprints and maximize use of resources. Green transportation technologies for managing fleets are changing the dynamic, however, and companies like NitroFleet99 are providing new technologies that optimize energy use in holistic ways that cut energy use, reduce operating costs and minimize equipment wear. Working with senior management, the company helps its energy partners link energy practices with existing infrastructure and technologies, educate staff about energy savings opportunities and set realistic, evolving goals for reducing energy usage in all aspects of industry and transportation.

NitroFleet99, a company dedicated to the simple expedient of replacing the current tire-inflation systems with high-purity nitrogen, provides a working network of industry partnerships for exploring the benefits of using nitrogen in business and fleet-management applications. Safe, inexpensive and easy to maintain, tires inflated with nitrogen get better mileage and provide other holistic benefits. NitroFleet99 is working to establish a national infrastructure for inflating tires with pure nitrogen from coast to coast. Ideally, this innovation costs as little as $29.95 for filling four tires while generating substantial energy savings and longer lasting tires and auto components. Less wear means less waste in landfills from millions of pounds of rubber.

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Fuel Efficiency Managed Fleets Nitrogen Tire Inflation Saving Money

Saving Money on Gas: 4 Ways Managed Fleets Can Do It

nitrogen tire inflation for managed fleetsFuel costs are one of the biggest costs for managed fleets, but also one of the hardest to decrease without hurting fleet productivity.  Offsetting some of the expenses to drivers may have consequences on employee morale and retention . Reducing usage could mean fewer routes, fewer vehicles on the road, and less revenue overall. Fortunately, with the right data, fleet managers can save money on gas without long-term consequences on the fleet and the company. Here are four ways managed fleets can save money on fuel:

Implementing a Fuel Card Program

Every fleet manager wants to trust their employees, and a fuel card program may seem like a way to “look over everyone’s shoulder” as they refuel vehicles at the gas station. But, a program can eliminate the small non-fuel purchases that drivers add on, such as a soda or a pack of cigarettes. Each individual driver may not intend harm and deceit by adding those purchases, but if every driver is doing that, then every single one of those purchases will add unnecessary expenses to the fleet’s fuel costs. The drivers may not see their small non-fuel purchases as a big deal, but they do mean thousands of dollars spent on items that have nothing to do with refilling the tank.

Considering Fuel-Efficient Vehicles for Upcoming Fleet Purchases

Switching out the entire fleet for brand new vehicles is a massive and expensive overhaul, but when the time comes to purchase new vehicles, opting for more fuel-efficient models is a great way to start. With one or two fuel-efficient fleet vehicles, it’s easy to measure and compare the fuel economy between the old and the new vehicles. After that, those numbers can be extrapolated across a 100- or 1000-vehicle fleet to determine how much gas would be saved if every single vehicle in the fleet was a fuel-efficient model. This data can justify a gradual overhaul or switching out a few more vehicles.

Improving Route Planning with a Fleet-Tracking System

Utilizing a fleet-tracking system will provide a managed fleet with hard data on where vehicles are going and how they are getting there, highlighting various opportunities for improvement. For example, many GPS fleet tracking system show current traffic conditions, so drivers can opt for a different route, reducing travel time and gas usage. A tracking system can also show where any fleet vehicle is at any given time, so if someone needs to be dispatched to a specific location, the fleet manager will know which one is closest and can send that vehicle. Fleet tracking isn’t just to make sure that drivers aren’t using company vehicles for personal purposes on the weekends. The traffic and location data can be used to ensure that gas and time isn’t wasted needlessly.

Using Nitrogen Tire Inflation

Nitrogen can improve fuel economy by 3 percent by keeping tires at their proper tire pressure for longer periods of time. Although regular air can also be used to maintain proper tire pressure, nitrogen tires lose their pressure at a slower rate than those filled with regular air, thus providing the benefits of proper tire pressure (increased fuel economy, increased traction, increased tire life etc.) for much longer. Switching to nitrogen tire inflation does take an initial investment because fleets need to purchase a special machine for the inflation, but much like using a fleet vehicle with better gas mileage, the benefits exponentially increase with each vehicle that uses nitrogen.

Overall, saving money on gas requires tracking and measuring current usage so that the fleet can find ways to cut costs. It’s not enough to say, “we need to use less.” To save money on gas, fleets need to know where is being wasted and improve fuel economy or efficiency in those areas.

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Managed Fleets Nitrogen Tire Inflation Saving Money

Nitrogen Tire Inflation and Our Money Saving Calculator for Managed Fleets

nitrogen tire inflation for managed fleetsWhen managed fleets consider adopting nitrogen tire inflation, the biggest question about the change is the return on investment. If we spend the money on a few nitrogen inflation carts and implement the process, then when will the machines pay for themselves? What benefits will the fleet specifically see from nitrogen, when air is already 78 percent nitrogen?

The main benefit of nitrogen tire inflation is that nitrogen maintains proper tire pressure for a longer period of time than regular air, leading to whole host of other benefits to your fleet. To explain these benefits and how they impact your bottom line, we’re going to go through our money saving calculator and explain each section and how a fleet saves money with each section.

Miles Driven Per Year

The average fleet vehicle drives between 15,000 and 20,000 miles per year, but the average for your fleet may be higher or lower, depending on a variety of factors. Our money saving calculator needs this figure to determine the savings from the next three sections. To clarify, this number refers to the average number of miles for one vehicle in your fleet, since our calculator determines the savings based on one vehicle. It doesn’t not calculate the savings for an entire fleet, although that is easy to figure out once the calculator has the savings for one vehicle. Obviously, the more miles driven in a year, the savings your managed fleet could see from nitrogen tire inflation.

Average Price of Gas Per Gallon

Currently, the average price for a gallon of gas is $3.68. For diesel fuel, the average price is $3.88 per gallon. Nitrogen tire inflation improves your fleet’s fuel efficiency by maintaining proper tire pressure for a longer period of time. Proper tire pressure, by itself, increases fuel efficiency by three percent. Three percent doesn’t seem like a big deal, but multiply that across your 50, 1000, or 10,000 fleet vehicles driving on under-inflated or over-inflated tires, and your managed fleet is wasting money in fuel.

MPG

According to the most recent statistics, the average miles per gallon for U.S. fleet vehicles is 23.2 mpg.  The average for all cars in the U.S. is 24.6 mpg. If you happen to know the average miles per gallon for your fleet, or have a way to come up with that number, then use that number in the calculator. Otherwise, you’re welcome to use the average numbers that we have provided.

Cost of a Full Set of Tires

For a fleet vehicle that has four wheels (versus an 18-wheeler or any other specialized fleet vehicle), the cost of full set of tires is about $600. Besides the four tires, this price also includes mounting and balancing, disposal of the old tires, alignment and the valve stems. Since nitrogen tire inflation improves tire life and tread wear (because nitrogen maintains proper tire pressure for a longer period of time, so the tread wears evenly versus just the middle or the outer edge), a managed fleet gets more out of each $600 purchase. The tires last longer, so a managed fleet gets more value for its money. Because the tires last longer, the $600 purchase needs to be made less often.

Conclusion

If we put the average numbers into the calculator to determine the savings with nitrogen tire inflation (20,000 miles, $3.68 per gallon, 24 mpg and $600), then the annual savings for one fleet vehicle using nitrogen tires is $150.09. For one vehicles, that’s not a whole lot, which is why we don’t focus on encouraging nitrogen tires in the consumer market (we won’t actively discourage it either, to be clear).

But, for a managed fleet of 1,000 vehicles, then the fleet can save $150,000 using nitrogen tire inflation. That is a substantial amount of savings, especially when the fleet considers how much it is currently spending on tires, fuel, maintenance, safety and anything else needed to keep the each of the fleet’s vehicles running. Even for a fleet of 100 vehicles, where the annual savings would only be $15,000, is still the equivalent of a part-time employee. Implementing a nitrogen tire inflation program into your managed fleet may cost $15,000, but it certainly isn’t going to cost $150,000, so the return on investment is clear.

photo credit: State Farm via photopin cc

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Hybrid Tires Saving Money

Saving Money ​On Tires​: How to Do It

how to save money on tiresFor many managed fleets, tires represent about 20 percent of total expenses, putting them in the top three costs for operations and maintenance. For sanitation fleets, tires are the number one cost in operations and maintenance, costing the fleet more money than fuel. However, tracking the total cost of the tire from the beginning to the end of its life isn’t something that all managed fleets do, even though tracking the total cost will help many fleets save money on tires. Since saving money on tires can immensely help the bottom line of many managed fleets, here’s how to do it so that the fleet cuts its costs without sacrificing safety.

Invest in a Tire Management System

A tire management system can provide real time data about your fleet’s tires and alert drivers of any potential problems, such as a pending flat. Since the software measures tire pressure and tread depth, fleets can improve safety and fuel economy by catching these problems early. The system can also reduce maintenance costs by reducing the downtime of a particular vehicle. Topping off a vehicle costs less than replacing a blown out tire or assessing the tread depth of each tire manually. By taking the time to do smaller, preventative maintenance, fleets can also reduce their labor and tire replacement costs.

Although a tire management system can be done on paper, a manual system does not offer the same benefits as an online or computerized system. Not all commercial vehicles have tire pressure monitoring systems installed, so the driver has to remember to check the vehicle’s tire pressure and must remember to do so after the tires have cooled. Drivers should still continue to do this, but the information isn’t in real time. If a driver forgets, for whatever reason, then he/she may miss under-inflated tires that can lead to reduced fuel economy or to a safety hazard.

Make Tire Pressure the Number One Rule

Whether your tire management system is manual or on a computer, proper tire pressure should be the first thing in place for any management system. Proper tire pressure is much more than checking it routine, but a good tire management system should also include targeted pressures for the tires, designated periodic checks for proper tire pressure, and calibrated air gauges. Proper tire pressure cannot be assessed by sight or touch alone. A calibrated gauge needs to be used every time. A solid tire management system that emphasizes proper tire pressure can save a managed fleet thousands of dollars per month. It may take up to six months before the fleet sees the return on the investment, but it also takes only 30 to 60 days for a fleet to lose money on under-inflated tires because of the reduced fuel efficiency and the reduced tire life.

Consider Nitrogen Tire Inflation for Your Managed Fleet

While making tire pressure a top priority in your tire maintenance and management, consider the practice of nitrogen tire inflation. Nitrogen-inflated tires maintain proper tire pressure up to three times longer than an air-inflated tires. Tires inflated with regular air lose about 1.5 PSI per month, while nitrogen tires take about three months to lose the same amount of tire pressure. Managed fleets still need to check their tire pressure regularly with nitrogen tire inflation, but the practice will reduce the number of blowouts, flats and top offs while keeping fuel efficiency and tire life at their maximum. Much like tire management software, there is an initial investment needed when starting a nitrogen tire inflation program, but after a few months managed fleets will see a noticeable difference in the money saved on tires.

Overall, managed fleets need to view tires as an asset, not a commodity. If they are viewed as an asset, then the perspective shifts on how to get the most of the fleet’s tires and how to get the most out of that investment. The three strategies shared above will help your managed fleet save money on tires.

photo credit: psyberartist via photopin cc

nitrogen tire inflation myths paper

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