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10 Fleets Sign On To Test Their Fuel Efficiency In NACFE's Run On Less Regional Challenge

10 Fleets Sign On To Test Their Fuel Efficiency In NACFE's Run On Less Regional Challenge

After a successful and informative Run on Less in 2017, the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) has returned with a new run focusing on fleets running regional routes.

The Run on Less Regional event will take place over three weeks in October, beginning October 8 and ending later that month at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show, where NACFE will announce initial results of the run. Ten fleets have signed up for the regional run, including three that also participated in the 2017 long-haul run.

The 10 fleets (and home base where the truck will be based) involved in the Run on Less Regional challenge are:

  • C&S Wholesale Grocers (Hammond, Louisiana)
  • Hirschbach (Monterey, Tennessee)
  • Hogan Transportation (St. Louis, Missouri)
  • J.B. Hunt (NYSE: JBHT) (Corsicana, Texas)
  • Meijer (Lansing, Michigan)
  • PepsiCo's (NASDAQ: PEP) snacks and beverages division (Vancouver, Washington)
  • Ploger Transportation (Norwalk, Ohio)
  • Schneider (NYSE: SNDR) (Rockford, Illinois)
  • Southeastern Freight Lines (Columbia, South Carolina)
  • UPS Inc (NYSE: UPS) (Phoenix, Arizona)

Hirschbach, Ploger Transportation and PepsiCo are returning fleets.

"It's really exciting to do this. Run on Less the first time really helped the industry," Mike Roeth, NACFE executive director, said.

In 2017, NACFE along with Shell, Pepsi and the Carbon War Room, held the original Run on Less challenge. That challenge also ended at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show in Atlanta, with the trucks in the study averaging 10.1 mpg overall, with 12.8 the highest individual mpg and three different trucks posting days over 12.5 mpg. The lowest mpg from a truck was 7.1 on one of the days, and the average for all lowest mpgs throughout the Run was 8.8. Collectively, the trucks traveled 50,107 miles and saved 2,877 gallons of fuel and $7,183 over the national fleet-wide average of 6.4 mpg.

The fleets in the original study included owner-operators and company drivers of various-sized fleets up to one with more than 7,000-plus trucks. Drivers tracked their daily mileage during regular duty cycles, which included 31 of 99 total days operating at over 65,000 pounds. Trucks faced both headwinds and tailwinds from Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, mountainous terrain and flat highways. All the trucks had different specifications. The only real requirement was that the technologies used on the trucks needed to be commercially available.

Setting criteria

The regional run will include many of the same provisions. However, Roeth acknowledged that coming up with criteria to measure the performance is more difficult this time.

"One of the biggest challenges for us is how do we measure them," he told FreightWaves. "We have participants that are going out 300 miles and coming back, like UPS because that is how its trucks typically run … and then there are going to be others that will have five or six drops. So that's quite a bit different. We know there is much more diversity in how regional haul operates."

Roeth said that NACFE will provide plenty of data from the run, but how that data segments is unclear at this point. Like its predecessor, Run on Less Regional will feature real-time monitoring of a number of factors including miles traveled, fuel consumed, pickups and deliveries, elevation change and vehicle speed among others.

The fleets themselves, in some cases, are still undecided on which drivers will participate and what application may be best. For instance, Roeth said PepsiCo has not decided yet whether its truck will be hauling beverages or snack foods – a huge weight discrepancy.

"Over the next couple of weeks and months, we will work with the fleets and get to know them," Roeth said.

Varied duty cycles

The fleet trucks will likely see a variety of conditions, from highway driving to urban and suburban driving. The only requirements at this point are that the runs stay within a 300-mile geofenced area and any technologies used on the vehicles are readily available in the marketplace.

Shell has returned as the title sponsor. It will be joined by PepsiCo, Geotab, EPA SmartWay, LinkeDrive and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory as event sponsors.

"Shell consistently works to raise awareness about the energy challenge facing society. Whether supporting increased fuel efficiency or the adoption of alternative fuels, initiatives such as Run on Less Regional are a great way to showcase the advances in technology that help deliver fuel economy gains. We are proud to sponsor this event and wish all 10 regional fleets a safe, efficient run this October," said Annie Peter, fleet sector marketing manager at Shell Lubricants.

With so much additional focus on regional haul as supply chains shrink, now is a good time to conduct this challenge. Regional fleets, like their long-haul brethren, have increased their focus on operational excellence to garner more business.

"Despite the shortened length of haul and operating in congested areas with more freight pickup and deliveries, fleets in regional operation strive to operate as efficiently as possible. Run on Less Regional will give us the opportunity to showcase the technologies and practices that allow us to deliver goods in a time-sensitive manner and get our drivers home on a regular basis," said Tanya Morrow, president of Ploger Transportation.

Roeth noted that the 10 fleets in this run represent an interesting cross-section of regional fleets – three are private carriers, three are traditional regional haul fleets, and two more – J.B. Hunt and Schneider – represent large asset-based carriers that have expanded into regional haul in recent years.

"We are excited to be part of Run on Less Regional," Chris Trajkovski, vice president of  transportation, fleet maintenance & assets at C&S Wholesale Grocers, said. "We look forward to demonstrating how the best of the best operate in this competitive and growing part of the trucking industry."

Image sourced from Pixabay


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