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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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The Need for Carbon Reduction [Infographic]

On August 16, 2013, in Sustainability, by allisonmreilly
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We’ve all heard of the ill effects of global warming: summers are hotter, ice sheets melt, ocean levels rise, blah blah blah. These consequences may seem like things that won’t affect us for another 100 years, but that’s not entirely true if we don’t make any changes now. By cutting our carbon emission levels, the impact is much larger than decreased pollution and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.  This infographic from Information is Beautiful shows you why we need carbon reduction now, and why the consequences of global warming (some you may not even know about) aren’t as far away as we may think. Of course, this infographic presumes that will maintain, or even increase, our current levels of carbon emissions, which further demonstrates that small changes can make a big difference.

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carbon reduction infographic

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VW L1

Photo by RudolfSimon via Wikimedia Commons

Size matters, but not as much as you think. When it comes to fuel-efficient cars, the best ones have a combination of good aerodynamics, lightweight, low drive line, and a small or medium-size engine.

Eco-friendly cars are the way of the future. More vehicle, parts, and tire manufacturers are coming up with new and creative ways to offer consumers the best fuel-efficient and environmentally-sound cars. Not only do these eco-vehicles save on gas and energy, they do their part for environmental carbon reduction. FuelEconomy.gov reports 1.6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere by highway vehicles each year. That’s 20 pounds of carbon dioxide per gallon of gas. Drivers who choose hybrid and electric vehicles greatly reduce the amount of carbon emissions entering the atmosphere which helps slow climate change.

Motorists may not be able to get their hands on the VW XL1 quite yet, but can still make savvy decisions to wring the best mileage from vehicles fitting the following criteria.

VW claims the XL1 is the most fuel efficient car ever with an estimated 261 mpg.

Vehicle Aerodynamics

Optimal fuel economy requires a vehicle that is aerodynamic. Aerodynamic designs look sleek and can improve fuel efficiency by one mile per gallon, when compared to vehicles that do not move through the air as easily.

The visual profile of a vehicle can help determine whether it is aerodynamic or not. Although some exceptions exist, a boxy shape is usually less aerodynamic than vehicles with a slight curve. Look for cars that curve along the top and back. Avoid vehicles with a clear box-type shape, which will require more effort to move forward.

Use vehicles lower to the ground. Cars with less air flowing below will not be slowed down or fight against wind on the top and bottom of the vehicle.

Vehicle Weight

The weight of the vehicle plays a significant role in fuel efficiency. As a general rule, a heavier car or truck will have a lower mile per gallon, on average, than a lighter vehicle. Tirebuyer.com advises against purchasing a heavy vehicle, like a van or truck, unless it is necessary for your job, family or terrain. It is more fuel efficient to select a Sedan, compact vehicle or Coupe.

Select a vehicle that has a lower weight, if possible. Even if you need a larger vehicle, look at the weight of the vehicle and compare it. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle will cause your fuel efficiency to drop by roughly two percent. Pay attention to the weight of the vehicle when you are making a selection to get better gas mileage within the specific class of vehicles.

Even the type of tires you buy can affect the weight and fuel efficiency of your vehicle. Under-inflated tires can make your car work harder and use more gas. Nitrogen-inflated tires lose air four times slower than air-inflated tires that also contain oxygen and water. Inflating your tires with nitrogen is also safer and improves tire wear and rim life.

Select a Vehicle With Low Drive Line Weight

Drive line weight is the weight of moving components within your vehicle. Whether you currently own a vehicle or want to buy a new car, changing out the axles, flywheel, crank shaft and other moving parts for lighter options will reduce your fuel expenses.

Stopping and Starting

Even if you select a vehicle that is designed to have better mileage, your actions behind the wheel will impact your fuel efficiency. The law of inertia states that objects in motion will continue moving until an external force causes it to stop. In the case of a vehicle, applying the brakes will cause it to stop. Unfortunately, if you are constantly stopping and then forcing the car into motion again, it will make your fuel efficiency drop.

The U.S. Department of Energy suggests that aggressive driving will actually reduce your fuel economy by roughly 33 percent. Drive at the speed limit to reduce the impact on your fuel.

Engine size and the amount of horsepower within a vehicle are only one factor that impacts your gas mileage. Before you buy a new car, take the weight of the vehicle and the aerodynamic design into account.

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going green ecolabellingGoing green and offering “sustainable” products and services is the cool thing to do, but the tough part is figuring out what ‘going green’ and ‘being sustainable’ actually means. It’s tough not only for consumers, but also for companies who are (or want) to be green and to reduce carbon emissions and all that good stuff, but aren’t sure how let customers know or prove what they are doing is actually great for the environment. The EcoLabel Index is just the place for that, a comprehensive site collecting data on ecolabels all around the world, increasing transparency and helping buyers and sellers use them more effectively. Use the index to learn what ecolabel means when it’s placed on a product or associated with a company, as well as learn which certifications and labels could fit your company and what it’s doing.

Below are a few certifications and ecolabels that would be of interest to managed fleets, transportation directors, and logistics companies that want proof and recognition for what they are doing to reduce environmental impact and to offset carbon emissions.

EPA Smartway

This certification identifies vehicles that reduce harmful emissions of carbon dioxide and air pollutants, improve fuel efficiency, and ensure a cleaner environment. It also comes with a Green Vehicle Guide to let consumers know which vehicles are the best when it comes to reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA Smartway is a good choice for managed fleets and transportation companies that want to use green vehicles and hybrid tires everyday, as well as implement tactics in other parts of the business to improve sustainability.

FedEx EarthSmart Solutions

The FedEx EarthSmart Solution is an internal company designation for any of their assets — including planes, trucks and facilities — that meet environmental sustainability criteria. To get it, you must meet your own sustainability standards (this means that your company must have sustainability standards) and you must exceed industry standards and practices. The goal here is to recognize those who are reducing emissions and improving energy efficiency. The FedEx EarthSmart Solution website offers a variety of ways for companies and managed fleets to achieve those goals.

Cleaner and Greener Certification

This is one of the few programs in the United States that emphasizes the reporting and offsetting of emissions by transportation fleets, although they do include buildings and other companies also. The Cleaner and Greener Certification consists of several levels, which depend on your level of carbon emission offsets and effort of environmental impact reduction. Associated with the Leonard Academy, they also offer training services for those who want to start an emissions inventory and want to know their exact environmental impact.

Overall, it’s very possible for managed fleets and others in transportation and logistics to learn what’s available in terms of going green, how to go green, and how to be recognized for that hard work and effort. Even though your customers are other businesses, certification and recognition can do a lot for branding and building trust with potential customers.

Fleets Can Definitely Do Something

Think managed fleets and the transportation industry can’t do much to go green? Think your customers don’t care whether or not your fleet or trucking company goes green or does something in sustainability? Then you’re thinking wrong! This myth is one of nine we bust in our latest white paper: 9 Debunked Myths on Nitrogen Tire Inflation. Click the link to download this white paper and to learn how nitrogen tire inflation can help your managed fleet.

Related Links:

Managed Fleets and Ending America’s Dependence on Foreign Oil

A Fourth Way the Trucking Industry Can Go Green

Managed Fleets Large and Small Improve Bottom Line with Nitrogen Tire Inflation

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trucking industry going greenThe trucking industry is vital to just about everything. The produce at your grocery store, the new television at Best Buy, and the new cars at the dealership all get where they need to be because of trucks. Despite their overall importance to the economy, the way the industry works has remained largely unchanged for decades. One of the ways they haven’t changed is in their fuel efficiency and consumption, and this post on GreenUnite offers three ways the trucking industry can go green. However, the article missed a fourth way the trucking industry can go green, a way that is so much easier to implement than the three mentioned in the article. That way is nitrogen tire inflation.

Nitrogen tire inflation is the process of using nitrogen in tires instead of regular air, and with the right equipment, it can be implemented in a managed fleet more quickly and easily than reducing speed (truckers are on tight deadlines, and can’t afford to waste precious time by going slow, or to lose business for slower deliveries), using alternative fuels (the truck takes what the truck takes. Hybrid 18-wheelers aren’t yet on the market, and until they are, this isn’t possible), or building a more aerodynamic truck (again, until one comes on the market, nothing’s changing). The great thing about nitrogen tire inflation as a way for managed fleets and the trucking industry to go green is that it is something that individual fleets or trucking companies can do on their own, and tomorrow. The technology already exists, and a single fleet can purchase this technology and do their part to go green without waiting for legislation, or innovators, or the industry to make changes themselves.

Nitrogen tire inflation helps a managed fleet or trucking company go green in two ways: improving fuel efficiency and improving tire life. The process of using nitrogen in tires has been found to improve fuel efficiency between three and six percent because nitrogen is able to maintain proper tire pressure for a longer period of time. Three to six percent improvement may not seem like a lot, but for a managed fleet of several hundred or thousand vehicles, that equals a lot of savings in fuel and transportation costs. If anything, improved fuel efficiency should be enough of a reason to go green, because it’s a way to go green while saving green

Nitrogen also improves tire life because it’s not necessarily nitrogen that’s so special, but it’s the oxygen and water vapor in compressed air that’s damaging to tires. Oxygen reacts with the tire rubber, causing it to deteriorate over a long period of time. An improvement in tire life could mean that managed fleets could get one more retread out of each tire. The water vapor can also do damage to the wheel studs by rusting them over time. Water vapor is also much more reactive to temperature, causing tire pressure to fluctuate. The tires will warm up after a drive, and could be read as overinflated if tire pressure is taken right after getting off the road. This means that the driver will release the pressure, making them underinflated. This can make the tires unsafe to drive on by putting them at risk for flats and blowouts.

How does a managed fleet or trucking company get involved with nitrogen tire inflation? Nitrofleet99 is a the only nitrogen tire inflation firm in the country that services managed fleets, and will work with your fleet or your company to create a strategy within your maintenance infrastructure so that every single one of your vehicles will receive nitrogen in their tires when they go through regular maintenance. Nitrofleet99 will also teach you how to use the technology, and will provide enough for your fleet whether its five vehicles or 5000 vehicles.

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