Our next solution isn’t about the fuel itself, but rather the major mechanical part that uses it -- the engine. Running an engine in a smart and efficient manner does the environment a favor no matter what type of fuel it uses.
Fleet operators can do quite a few things to make sure their vehicles’ engines contribute to their organizations’ green agendas. Following are some of them.
Stop idling. There's good reason many state and local governments have enacted laws against idling by buses, trucks and other heavy vehicles. Not only does it waste fuel, but it also pollutes, adding to local air-quality issues (exacerbating problems like children’s asthma). Idling wastes up to a half-gallon (1.9 liters) of fuel per hour (more for larger vehicles, like trucks) -- while that might not sound like much, multiply it by an entire fleet and the economic drawbacks become clear. Here's another financial drawback: penalties for violating anti-idling laws include fines can run in the hundreds to thousands of dollars, or even up to a year in jail.
Solution: Check out the latest in Auxiliary Power Units, or APUs. Just like the name implies, these boxes provide electrical power for accessories such as air-conditioning units and heaters without the need to run the engine and harm the environment by idling.
And there are other engine-related steps that directly help to conserve fuel:
- Fleet-wide, you can increase vehicles' general torque ratings, so that their engines aren't working as often in the higher (fuel-thirstier) torque ranges.
- In manual transmission-equipped vehicles, drivers can shift quickly through the gear range to spend less time in lower, less fuel-efficient gears.
- Slow down! Above 70 miles per hour (112.7 kilometers per hour), truck engines fight mightily just to overcome wind resistance.
Our last environmental solution for fleet fuels has been around almost since the beginning of automobiles. But not until recently have manufacturers been jolted into bringing it to the mainstream marketplace. Head to the next page to find out what it is.