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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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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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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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saving fuel managed fleetsThis is a guest post from Eve Pearce.

The road miles traveled by the things we buy make headlines. From food producers to restaurant owners, emphasis is proudly placed on produce that is sourced locally and, hence, hasn’t traveled too far, or for too long, to get to your basket or plate. This is not surprising as there is not much downside to growing vegetables nearby and then eating them: it is healthy, often very economical, and helps local farmers and businesses to flourish. It is often exactly such straightforward thinking that can make significant differences when it comes to economy and the environment.

Optimizing Gas Usage Saves Emissions, Fuel and Time

Efficiency of transportation is not something that only applies to food. Increasing energy prices, levels of greenhouse gas emissions and the need to reduce reliance on fossil fuels all mean that using the resources we have in the most economical way possible is a focal point in the way forward for many industries. It is also the source of much innovation.

Take, for example, GoNitroTire and NitroFleet99 network of services which use nitrogen, as opposed to air, to inflate vehicle tires. This is an idea that, in an economy of scale, can save vast amounts of time and money for those managing fleets.

A look at the prominence of transport in terms of energy usage really brings home how significant an issue this is. Transportation counts for around 11% of carbon consumption in the United States. Finding ways to use fuel more efficiently is, therefore, fundamental to anyone who manages a fleet.

In the U.S. some 400 million gallons of fuel are used each day. Collectively, haulage fleets using tires filled with nitrogen, rather than air, saved this amount during 2007. This, in turn, saved 4 million tons of carbon emissions. As well as saving energy, a great deal of time which might be spent checking and adjusting tire pressures is also saved, and this can lead to greater efficiency.

The reason for this increase in efficiency is that nitrogen has larger molecules than oxygen (which makes up around 23% of air), and so does not leak out of the tire as quickly. Logistics firms and distributors work hard to optimize delivery routes and combine deliveries, and cutting down on road miles and fuel consumption has become a fine art. GoNitroTire are able to lease machinery to supply several bays in a depot, or to inflate a number of car tires simultaneously. This includes options for purging air from the tires, or simply topping up with nitrogen.

Saving Fuel, Helping the Environment

Cutting down on fuel usage is important for the reputation of the haulage industry and in terms of protecting our environment. Being able to reassure clients that goods are being transported to them in as green a way as possible is sound marketing in world where the carbon footprint of each stage in the cycle of goods reaching their market is scrutinized. Large vehicles are very visible to other road users and have a responsibility to use the roads as safely and efficiently as possible as a courtesy to other road users as well as the buyers of the goods they transport. Keeping vehicles safe and efficient is also important in terms of maintaining a fleet in good working order, and this will include HGV insurance as well as servicing and regular maintenance (including tire pressure checks).

In terms of the bigger picture relating to energy usage and the environment, inflating tires with nitrogen, rather than air, saves on gasoline, thus cutting down on our reliance on imported fuel. Any increase in energy self-sufficiency is important for energy security which is focal in energy policy in many other countries, including the UK. Being reliant on imported fuel opens up duel uncertainties in terms of price and supply. A shortage in the latter can lead to stores quickly diminishing. Similarly, fluctuations in price can be crippling to the haulage industry, and have a knock-on effect in other markets.

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nitrogen tire inflation for managed fleetsThere’s still a lot of doubt about the value of nitrogen tire inflation, despite research and experience that say otherwise. Even though it may be hard to convince the consumer marketing about the benefits of having nitrogen in tires, industry should take a little less convincing when major companies and industries like the military, the airlines, and NASCAR have used nitrogen tire inflation for years. If you are in fleet management, and you still need a little more convincing, here are six excellent reasons on why nitrogen tire inflation is a good idea for your managed fleet:

  1. Better Pressure Retention – Because of its larger molecular size, nitrogen migrates through a tire three to four times slower than oxygen. Tires are not impermeable, and oxygen molecules migrate through the sidewalls, belts, tread, tire bead, and valve stem. Using nitrogen tire inflation will slow this migration, and help each of your fleet vehicles to maintain proper tire pressure for a longer period of time.
  2. Improved Handling – Proper tire inflation ensure the recommended “contact patch” of your tire is on the road. Tires that are over or underinflated will create uneven wear patterns, making them less safe on which to drive. Over/underinflation also negatively affects fuel efficiency, which leads to our next reason.
  3. Higher Fuel Economy Proper tire pressure lessens rolling resistance and maximizes fuel efficiency. Research has found that proper tire pressure leads to a 3.3% increase in fuel efficiency. This may not seem like a lot, but for a managed fleet with 100, 1000, or 10,000+ vehicles, those few percentage points add mean a return on investment for nitrogen tire inflation and fuel cost savings in the long run. A tire that is 15 percent underinflated has a 2.5% decrease in fuel economy.
  4. Enhanced Safety and Reliability – Under-inflated tires cause 90 percent of blowouts. Nitrogen provides more reliable pressure for reduced blowout potential. Safety and reliability should be a top priority for all members of a managed fleet.
  5. Longer Tire Life – Under-inflated tires wear quickly on the shoulders, and overinflated tires wear in the center. In addition, removing oxygen eliminates oxidation and condensation that can damage inner liners, steel belts and rims. Proper tire pressure, which nitrogen maintains for a longer period of time than air, increases tire life by 20 percent. A tire that’s 15 percent underinflated has eight percent less tread mileage than one at proper tire pressure. The increase in tire life could mean savings in tire expenses or in retreads for a managed fleet.
  6. Better for the Environment – Anything that improves fuel efficiency and reduces toxic emissions is good for the environment, and nitrogen in your tires can help. Anything that your managed fleet does that’s considered “green” or “sustainable” is also great for marketing purposes, since it’s a way not only to differentiate from the competition but also to appeal to customers.
Sometimes, one small change in how you do things can have a big impact. Nitrogen tire inflation is one of those small changes. Nitrofleet99 is the only nitrogen tire inflation provider that works specifically with managed fleet. They can help any fleet, large or small, integrate the equipment with any maintenance program 
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managed fleets nitrogen tire inflation

Managed fleets can really benefit from nitrogen tire inflation.

Managed fleets come in all sizes, and are found in a variety of industries, but do have at least one thing in common: they use a lot of fuel.  With gas prices on the rise, keeping control of those costs can be difficult. However, increasing a vehicle’s fuel economy by just 1 mile per gallon can save a 300-vehicle fleet over $50,000 in one year. Fleet managers can easily reign in fuel costs for their fleets and their companies by improving fuel efficiency.

One of the best ways to improve fuel efficiency is with nitrogen tire inflation because nitrogen in tires makes it easier to achieve the most important factor to improving fuel efficiency and increasing tire life: proper tire pressure. By itself, proper tire pressure increases fuel efficiency between three and six percent. If the vehicle already gets 34 miles to the gallon, then a three percent increase in fuel efficiency will achieve that 1 mile per gallon increase that needed to see savings. If the vehicle gets 25 miles to the gallon, then a four percent increase is what needed to achieve that one mile per gallon. Since nitrogen tire inflation maintains proper tire pressure for a longer period of time, those savings are more easily achieved and kept.

According to the Tire Retread Bureau, the biggest issues affecting the bottom line of fleet managers, after fuel costs, are tire maintenance/safety and replacement/tire wear. Nitrogen tire inflation targets those issues as well as the fuel economy because proper tire pressure increases tire life as well as the fuel economy. This leads to even more savings for managed fleets, as they can not only cut fuels costs but cut tire maintenance and replacement costs as well. According to the Technology & Maintenance Council, 10 percent under inflation will shorten tread life anywhere between nine and 16 percent. Under inflation shortens tread life because driving on these tires causes sidewall flexing, which creates irregular tire wear and extra heat build-up within the tire, reducing retreadability and safety while using more energy and fuel. With an average tire press of $250, under inflation will cost a managed fleet an extra $25 per tire. Proper tire pressure with nitrogen tire inflation will reduce those maintenance costs while making the vehicles safer for your drivers.

Nitrogen tire inflation is a win-win for managed fleets both large and small, and in all sorts of industries. It’s been used by the airline industry, NASCAR, and the military for years, so nitrogen must be doing something right for them. If improving fuel economy or cutting operational costs are what you’re after as a fleet manager, then why not see if nitrogen tire inflation can do something right for your managed fleet?

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The Clean Cities Coalition

On April 9, 2011, in Fuel Efficiency, Nitrogen Tire Inflation, by allisonmreilly
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clean cities coalitionConsisting of over 100 coalitions, the Clean Cities Coalition is a government-industry partnership designed to advance our country’s economic, environmental, and energy security by supporting local decisions to adopt practices that contribute to the reduction of petroleum consumption. The program’s 8,400-plus local stakeholders that have helped to reduce the use of petroleum, to add more than half a million alternative fuel vehicles on the road, and to encourage the construction of over 3,000 alternative refueling stations.

Since the inception of Clean Cities in 1993 by the Department of Energy, the program has reduced petroleum consumption by nearly three billion gallons! One way stakeholders can continue to contribute to the reduction is to utilize nitrogen in their tire inflation. Instead of spending time and money purchasing and developing new technology, why not just do something different with the old technology? If anything, it’s simply much more economical.

About 54 percent of Americans drive on under-inflated tires. An under-inflated tire can reduce fuel economy by five percent. This can be fixed with nitrogen, which provides a much more stable tire pressure for a much longer period of time. Nitrogen reduces the average rolling resistance of the tire, thereby improving fuel economy. Five percent may not seem like a lot, however, that five percent adds up to increased fuel and maintenance costs for the many company vehicles of which service and fleet managers are in charge. Besides improved fuel economy, here are a few other ways nitrogen can improve your fleet:

  • Improved Safety: Nitrogen enables more stable tire pressure for longer periods of time, thereby reducing the chances for a blowout.
  • Improved Tire Wear: By eliminating the moisture and oxygen through nitrogen tire inflation, the risk of oxidation of tire walls is significantly reduced, creating better wear characteristics.
  • Improved Tire Pressure Monitoring System Performance: By using nitrogen instead of air in your tires, you reduce “false positive” indications from your tire pressure monitoring system, thereby reducing unnecessary service calls.
  • Improved Rim Life: The moisture and oxygen contained in air accelerates rim rust, causing slow leaks in your tires. The dryness of nitrogen eliminates that condensation.

Whether or not you or your city is a part of the Clean Cities Coalition, it’s very easy for transportation industry professionals to contribute toward the cause. To learn more about how to get more nitrogen, and less air, into your tires, check out NitroFleet99.

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