The trucking fleet of the future—in all of its fuel efficient, low emissions, lead-free glory—isn’t as far away as you might think. It’s also not difficult to transform your own fleet into a cleaner one, according to IMI President Bob Fogal Jr., whose EQUAL Tire Performance ushered in a new era of environmentally friendly tire balancing almost 20 years ago. IMI offers the following tips: 1.GREEN UP YOUR SHOP – A cleaner fleet starts in the garage. From used tires and oil to disposing of coolant and batteries. Even cleaning products can be greener through the use of environmentally safe, biodegradable solutions. Doubt the Earth-friendly stuff can cut it in a truck service center? Think again. Top-notch grease-cutting cleaners can be powerful and green at the same time. 2.GET SMART – Smarter techs are not only more environmentally conscious, they’re also more productive. Create an ongoing training schedule for all technicians and stick to it, whether it’s on site or off site, hands-on or online. 3.SERVICE VEHICLES REGULARLY – Poorly maintained trucks not only consume more fuel and have higher toxic emissions, they’re also at a higher risk for breakdowns. 4.REDUCE IDLE TIME – Anti-idling laws loom throughout the nation, but why wait to be forced to shut down? Take action now by investing in auxiliary power units, most of which pay for themselves in the amount of money saved on fuel. Other perks include cleaner air, quieter communities, less wear on your trucks and happier drivers. 5.GET THE LEAD OUT – According to the Ecology Center, more than 1,600 tons of lead wheel balancing weights are lost on roadways throughout the U.S. each year. These wayward weights pose a hazard to the environment, but also contribute to wheel imbalance and premature tire wear. Move your fleet into the 21st century by upgrading to a lead-free option, some of which offer a self-adjusting balance for greater vibration reduction. 6.PERFORM WELL UNDER PRESSURE – Properly inflated tires not only improve fuel efficiency, they also help you get more miles out of your treads. Both rewards are good for the environment and your budget. 7.WATCH YOUR GAS – Tracking fuel consumption is the first step toward using less fuel fleet wide, which means fewer emissions and less money spent on gas. Driver training and route planning can also help. If you want people to take the effort seriously, consider a program that rewards fuel-efficient driving by sharing the savings with your drivers. 8.FAKE IT WITH SYNTHETIC OILS – In addition to extending drain intervals, synthetic oils offer faster cold weather starts, better hot weather engine performance and, in some cases, better fuel economy. Sure, they may cost more than their mineral-based counterparts, but buying less oil, filters, fuel and increasing uptime for trucks will help you break even—and possibly even make a few extra bucks.
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