All That's Trucking

Fuel Efficiency, Driver Issues In the Media

June 22, 2015

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I was on vacation last week, so my email box was full of news alerts when I got back. A few of the more interesting stories from the mainstream press:

Fuel Efficiency

The big news last week was the federal government's proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve fuel efficiency in heavy trucks. There was a lot of coverage, but I actually want to share an article from several weeks earlier that focused on how the industry already is focused on fuel economy. In the Reuters feature, "Truckers' Secret to Fuel Efficiency: Take it Easy," reporter Nick Carey gives readers a look at two of the most fuel-efficiency-focused fleets in the business, Mesilla Valley Transportation and Hirschbach Motor Lines. It also offers a potpourri of some of the technology being adopted in the industry, such as trailer aerodynamics and automated transmissions.

"Environmentalists want the Environmental Protection Agency to set a standard of 10 miles per gallon, up about 40 percent from current levels, as part of a broader effort to curb U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Some truck manufacturers say that could be too aggressive.

"But owners of truck fleets such as MVT are running ahead of regulators and manufacturers, taking advantage of new technology and new ways of motivating drivers to cut fuel consumption."

Talking Trucking with A. Duie Pyle

Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Jan Von Bergen published a Q&A with A. Duie Pyle CEO Peter Latta about the company his grandfather, A. Duie Pyle, started in 1924.
The article covers a range of topics, from labor issues to driver turnover to autonomous truck technology.

"...people think it's all about the trucks and the technology and the buildings. Those are all tools that we need to effectively operate, but, ultimately it's the user of the tools - the people - that creates the level of service for the customers."

Pay by the hour?

In a well-researched column, Los Angeles Times writer Larry Kahaner lays out the argument for paying drivers by the hour rather than by the mile. He provides a succinct and accurate summary of the driver shortage and the reasons behind it, and educates the general public about how drivers are paid before talking about why that's not a good thing:

"Paying by the mile is both unsafe and unfair. It encourages truckers to speed in order to make money. Getting paid by the mile, moreover, means truckers never know how much they will make for any given week (they can’t predict breakdowns, traffic, weather or man-made delays at warehouses). Drivers report that inconsistent pay is even more of a drawback than low pay."

He points out that the federal exemption from minimum wage standards dates back to the 1930s, "when the trucking industry looked very different than it does today," and points to the example of Dupre Logistics, which went to hourly pay as part of a big safety push a number of years ago.

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Author Bio

Deborah Lockridge

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All That's Trucking blog is just that – the editor's take on anything and everything related to trucking, with the help of guest posts from other HDT editors. Author Deborah Lockridge's career as an award-winning trucking journalist started in 1990.


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