Fuel Smarts

Going Green Without Saying Goodbye to Diesel

March 08, 2013

By Kate Harlow

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Green shouldn't be the only color a fleet is considering when making a move toward "going green."

"The most important colors in business are still red and black," said Joe Fiorelli, fleet and safety director for Gulfeagle Supply during a session for NTEA's Green Truck Summit entitled, "Compounding the Green: Incremental Measures for Going Green and Sustainable."

As fleets and the trucking industry increasingly focus on the many ways of going green, Fiorelli said there isn't one "right" solution. Each fleet is different and the path each takes to greening their fleet will be slightly different.

Fiorelli has focused on proven alternatives such as GPS for vehicle tracking, but also for turn-by-turn directions.

"If you have a Class 8 truck that misses a turn, sometimes they have to drive 10 more miles down the road before they can turn around. That's an added 20 miles that costs you money," he said.

Other easy ways he suggested to improve fuel economy and cut GHG emissions included low rolling resistance tires, tire pressure monitoring systems and taking a hard look at aerodynamics.

"Go green, but just go smart green," Fiorelli said.

Verizon has tested alternative fueled vehicles like this one but says there are many other ways to go green, including using telematics.
Verizon has tested alternative fueled vehicles like this one but says there are many other ways to go green, including using telematics.
George Mayhew, with Verizon Fleet Operations, agreed with Fiorelli that every company, fleet and driver should find the best way for their operation to go green.

Verizon has more than 35,000 on-road vehicles consuming around 40 million gallons of fuel. Those vehicles are separated by geography and by the jobs they need to perform.

"There are many different ways to go green besides changing the actual make up of the vehicle," Mayhew said.

Mayhew stressed that one of the most important things a fleet can do is to obtain and review empirical data to see where and how technology or alternative-fuel-powered vehicles will do the most good.

"You can't manage what you can't measure. We see telematics as extremely important to managing the whole green process," he said.

For example, through the data it collected, Verizon determined that unnecessary idling is perhaps its greatest opportunity to reduce its fuel consumption and GHG emissions.

Telematics was able to identify those drivers who were found to idle too much, too often and Verizon was then able to correct that behavior.

According to Mayhew's presentation, Verizon's idle reduction efforts have reduced over 200,000 gallons of fuel consumption in 2012.

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