Choosing SmartWay vehicle components to save fuel

Choosing SmartWay vehicle components to save fuel

In 2004, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched SmartWay, a public/private collaboration with the freight transportation industry that helps carriers and other companies improve fuel efficiency and lower costs.

EPA’s SmartWay Technology program develops test protocols, reviews strategies and verifies the performance of vehicles, technologies and equipment that have the potential to reduce greenhouse gases and improve fuel efficiency in freight hauling operations.

The SmartWay Technology program establishes performance criteria and fuel saving benefits for various devices in several categories, including idle reduction and aerodynamic technologies, low rolling resistance tires and a variety of retrofit options. (Be sure to check out the latest list of SmartWay Verified Technologies.)

Necessary investment

“SmartWay provides incentives for reducing transportation-related emissions while improving supply chain fuel efficiency,” says Brent Witte, president of Witte Bros. Exchange, “but it can require a large and sometimes costly commitment on the part of the carrier. As a SmartWay partner, we feel that investment is necessary because fuel represents one of our highest operating costs. Good specs and well-trained drivers will enhance fuel economy.”

Witte Bros. Exchange, a Troy, Mo.-based carrier with 170 tractors and 235 trailers provides nationwide temperature-controlled truckload service, custom refrigerated less-than-truckload distribution programs and full-service cold storage. The company routinely specs its equipment with systems and components that reduce fuel consumption and improve performance.

“Idle reduction technology is a critical consideration when we’re writing equipment specs because unnecessary idling wastes fuel and subsequently money,” Witte states. “It can also result in excessive engine wear and additional pollution. For that reason, our new trucks are equipped with optimized features to reduce engine idle time, resulting in a reduction in fuel use, exhaust emissions and noise.”

On its latest tractors, Witte Bros. Exchange is also spec’ing automated manual transmissions (AMT). “AMTs provide efficiency in fuel economy, durability and ease of operation,” Witte says. “We’ve found they improve fuel efficiency by 3%, and in addition to the fuel savings, the automated control of the clutch improves shift quality and leads to longer life.

“We also estimate that lower viscosity lubricants generate fuel savings and that low rolling resistance tires on our trailers can positively impact fuel use by as much as 5%,” Witte continues. “In addition, our maintenance department balances all tires and aligns axles on a routine basis, practices that extend the life of the tires while also improving MPG.”

To save fuel and lower weight, Witte is spec’ing new tractors with a 6×2 axle configuration as well. “Single drive axles in a 6×2 set up are a lightweight solution for the efficiency-conscious carrier,” Witte says. “By replacing one of the drive axles in a traditional tandem, we can achieve weight savings and an approximate three percent improvement in fuel efficiency.”


Active partner

In 2007, TransAm Trucking received the U.S. EPA SmartWay Environmental Excellence Award for reducing harmful emissions. Today, the Olathe, Kan.-based temperature-controlled freight carrier remains an active SmartWay partner. The company operates a fleet of over 1,400 tractors and more than 2,400 trailers.

As part of its long-term commitment to sustainability, TransAm Trucking is specifying auxiliary power units on all of its tractors. TriPac Evolution APUs from Thermo King, the company notes, lower fuel consumption and reduce emissions while also providing driver comfort. The TriPac Evolution APU is an EPA Tier IV final emissions standard compliant unit.

TransAm1Also enabling the TransAm Trucking fleet to improve fuel efficiency and reduce harmful emissions are the latest EPA approved engines, which operate at optimal combustion temperatures, providing increased fuel efficiency. Also in use are AMTs, as well as aerodynamic trailer side skirts, which the company adds have a proven 7% savings in fuel costs.

TransAm Trucking also implemented an intelligent route solution program to reduce the number of out-of-route miles generated by manual trip planning. With the reduction in unnecessary miles, drivers complete trips and are dispatched on other loads more quickly. The practice also reduces the amount of fuel used per trip.

“We take a proactive approach to optimizing resource needs and reducing environmental impacts without compromising service quality,” says Russ McElliott, president of TransAm Trucking. “We’re focused on selecting game-changing solutions that help us ensure the best possible service for customers, the best possible working environment for drivers, and that meet our goal of generating a minimal environmental impact while saving fuel.”

Setting an example

The EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership points to carriers like TransAm Trucking and Witte Bros. Exchange to help accelerate the adoption of advanced fuel efficient technologies and operational practices, helping companies save fuel, lower costs and reduce adverse environmental impacts. Since 2004, SmartWay partners have collectively achieved $8.1 billion in fuel cost savings.

“The freight transportation industry is arguably one of the most important, necessary and economically viable pieces in the nation’s supply chain system,” says Brent Witte. “Equally important to the transportation of the freight is the existence of committed companies and public/private collaborative partnerships that ensure a cleaner and safer carbon footprint.”

You May Also Like

Used Class 8 truck volumes exceeded seasonal expectations in March

When compared to March 2022, the retail and wholesale markets declined by -13% and -40%, respectively.


According to the latest State of the Industry: U.S. Classes 3-8 Used Trucks, published by ACT Research, used Class 8 retail volumes (same dealer sales) jumped 18% month-over-month in March. Average mileage declined by 5%, with average price up 4% and age down 2%. Longer term, average price, age, and volumes were lower, with miles higher year-over-year.

Freightliner M2, SD Plus Series launch updates its medium-duty truck offering

Freightliner introduced the new Plus Series–enhanced versions of its M2 and SD models, including the M2 106 Plus, M2 112 Plus, 108SD Plus, and 114SD Plus. The enhanced models provide a major update to the interior and electrical systems of the M2 and SD models. The OEM noted that the Plus Series is designed to

Truck cruise control technology that looks at the road ahead

If you’ve ever visited the Northeast region of the country, you’ve most likely encountered intimidating terrain. The winding roads. The steep hills. The intricate routes that challenge any seasoned driver, and, most recently, advanced cruise control systems that aim to improve fuel efficiency and driver comfort.   Related Articles – Four ways A.I. can help cut

Four ways A.I. can help cut diesel fuel costs

The fluctuation of fuel prices has made it more challenging to operate day-to-day. Drivers get paid by the mile, and, when fuel costs go up, margins shrink, impacting how fleets profit and pay their employees. Intelligent technology can lessen the impact of high prices by improving overall fuel efficiency. Related Articles – New ways to

Peterbilt GM Jason Skoog charts today’s truck support, tomorrow’s truck solutions

Peterbilt made headlines recently when it became the first major North American OEM to open orders for an electric truck, the Peterbilt 220EV. In this exclusive interview, Peterbilt General Manager and PACCAR Vice President Jason Skoog details the technology investments that are keeping fleets productive during this year’s trying pandemic and laying the groundwork for

Peterbilt General Manager PACCAR Technology Electric Truck

Other Posts

Thermo King’s electric transport refrigeration unit for trailers completes trial with Meijer

To date, Thermo King’s single-temperature electric trailer has logged nearly 4,000 hours of customer trials.

EUFMC releases conference speaker lineup

Fleet managers can unite at this year’s EUFMC, June 4-7.

Overall new equipment business volume down slightly Y/Y

According to ELFA findings, total headcount for equipment finance companies was down 4.6% year-over-year.