If you're looking for better ways to control your fuel costs, the United States Environ-mental Protection Agency (EPA) can help. The SmartWay Transport Partnership helps companies reduce their fuel costs, improve the environmental impacts of their freight operations as well as contribute to America's energy security.
Fuel is one of the largest expenses for most trucking companies, with price surges and volatility keeping most fleet managers on their toes. Controlling transportation costs is critical to maintaining profitability and helps to ensure a fleet owner can compete over the long-term. Some industry leaders have also been looking for new ways to improve performance and gain public recognition for their efforts.
EPA addressed these needs in 2004 when it launched the SmartWay Transport Partner-ship; a public-private initiative working to help improve the efficiency of goods movement. The partnership promotes energy-saving technologies and practices, while providing participants with technical assistance and recognition for their environmental excellence. Since its launch three years ago, more than 500 companies have joined this important effort, saving an estimated 335 million gallons of diesel per year.
Stakeholders throughout the freight industry are working in each of the partnership cate-gories, which include freight carriers, freight shippers and logistics providers. Participants in each group commit to meeting efficiency improvement goals. Freight carrier partners analyze their current fleet efficiency and environmental impact, then commit to a three-year improvement target. Freight shipper partners commit to send more freight with partner carriers and reduce the emissions from the shipment of their freight. Logistics partners also commit to utilize more partner carriers. Affiliate partners, such as state trucking associations, work with EPA to support and publicize the partnership.
Food and beverage is one of the fastest growing sectors for the partnership, with many well-known industry leaders committing to this important effort. We profile two of these partners-Perdue Farms and Kraft Foods-and detail their use of a variety of fuel-saving and emission-reducing technologies.
Perdue Farms, based in Salisbury, MD, has been a SmartWay Partner since 2005. Perdue has invested heavily in idle-reduction technologies and biodiesel. It is also testing single-wide tires on select trucks. Perdue has auxiliary power units on 52 of its fleet of 227 trucks. These units saved Perdue almost 75,000 gallons of fuel in 2006. The APUs also helped Perdue to cut its average fleet idle time in half.
Since 2005, Perdue has been running about 30 trucks on various seasonal blends of biodiesel, ranging from B5 (a blend of 95 percent diesel and 5 percent biodiesel) to B20 (80 percent diesel and 20 percent biodiesel). It plans to operate half of its fleet-more than 100 trucks-with biodiesel by 2008. Perdue experienced some isolated issues with fuel gelling the first winter it used biodiesel but had no operational problems during this most recent winter.
Biodiesel is an important strategy for reducing dependence on foreign oil and reducing greenhouse gases. It is produced from renewable, domestic sources and helps to reduce tailpipe emissions. Perdue's biodiesel-fueled trucks emit 31 percent fewer carbon-dioxide emissions compared to diesel trucks.
When discussing Perdue's participation, Larry Brown, Perdue's logistics director says, "Perdue Farms considers participation in the SmartWay Transport Partnership a logical extension of our corporate commitment to quality throughout our organization. We share the common goals of protecting the environment while striving for maximum fuel efficiency. We believe that it is possible to preserve the family farm and provide a safe, abundant and affordable food supply while protecting our communities and the environment."