Starship – hyper-fuel efficient truck

In most major markets, public concern about climate change has increased significantly over just the last year. This shift is likely to have an impact on commercial fleets.

In 2020, a Yale Poll reported nearly six in ten (58%) Americans are either “alarmed” or “concerned” about global warming1. Additionally, the 2019 US Retail and Sustainability Survey revealed that more than two-thirds of respondents consider sustainability when making a purchase, and are willing to pay more for sustainable products2.

This shift in public opinion poses a challenge for fleet managers. How can commercial fleets respond to legislative and consumer pressure to be more sustainable now, with their current vehicles?

Here are eight tips Shell learned when developing the next-generation Starship truck, an aerodynamic tractor-trailer that achieved nearly 2.5 times the average for freight hauling efficiency.

You can begin applying any or all these hard-won lessons to your fleet today to reduce your diesel emissions:

1. Cut rolling resistance

With the right tires, the right axle and bearing grease, and the right maintenance regime, you can improve fuel efficiency by reducing rolling resistance.

2. Reduce drag

Using add-ons, such as side-skirts and trailer tails, and reducing the gap between trailer and tractor can all help reduce drag, and improve fuel efficiency.

3. Use premium lubrication

High-quality, low-viscosity engine oil – with friction-reducing additives:

  • cuts down mechanical loss
  • improves efficiency
  • and reduces emissions.

4. Use biodiesels

Add sustainably-sourced biofuels to your standard fuel. But only in consultation with your fuel supplier, who can help you complete the task safely and effectively.

5. Use vehicle automation

Automating even simple things, like optimal gear changes to operate the engine in the most efficient range, can help improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.

6. Maximize utilization rates

Use freight-brokerage apps and fleet management tools to maximize utilization rates, cut idling times, and eliminate empty miles.

7. Switch to integrated fleet management

Cut fuel consumption with the latest telematic fleet solutions. Use them to plan routes better, maximize utilization and dynamically re-route your fleet.

8. Tailor driving styles

Use information from a truck’s telematics and other systems to help coach drivers to become (much) more fuel-efficient in the way they drive.

Shell Texas day two

The modern fleet manager is far from powerless in the face of demands to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With the right combination of improved practices, modern technologies and premium consumables, we can all cut our emissions and fuel consumption.

And that isn’t just better for the environment, it boosts your bottom line too.

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