A recent report from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) found that improving the nation’s infrastructure could save commercial truckers billions of gallons of fuel each year. Not only would improved infrastructure mean savings on fuel costs, but better roads with less congestion would also increase the lifespan of commercial tires and bring less pollution to the environment.
The ATRI report found that 12 percent of America’s roads are causing 89 percent of congestion issues contributing to increased fuel consumption and pollution. Of these roads, the Spaghetti Junction in Atlanta was identified as the second-worst congestion spot in America — a mild improvement from its previously held spot at number one.
Unclogging the Spaghetti Junction alone would save commercial trucking fleets 4.5 million gallons of fuel each year, according to ATRI’s findings. Moreover, removing congestion at the site could reduce particulate matter in the air by 17 percent; smog-forming emissions by 5.5 percent; and carbon dioxide emissions by 8 percent. Nationally, America’s road congestion raised commercial fuel consumption by 6.87 billion gallons in 2016 alone. The increase resulted in $74.5 billion in fuel spend for that year.
Not only do these bottleneck areas place a strain on fleets’ fuel budgets, but the defensive driving tactics used in these areas contribute to increased wear and tear on commercial truck tires. This creates additional stress for fleet managers struggling to manage their repair and maintenance budgets.
Improving America’s infrastructure will take time. Many in the commercial trucking industry believe Congress should pass the American Trucking Associations’ Build America Fund. This would modernize the U.S. infrastructure and raise $340 billion over 10 years to improve the nation’s most heavily congested areas.
However, fleet managers need solutions now in order to maintain commercial truck tires and reduce financial strain. Managers should develop pre- and post-trip inspection plans; practice preventative tire maintenance; and strategically plan out routes to help avoid heavily congested areas. Being more methodical with route selection will help managers choose less-trafficked roads, leading to reduced fuel spend and tire maintenance needs.
For commercial truck fleets looking to maximize their budget and practice preventative tire maintenance, there’s no better way to achieve that goal than by partnering with a professional tire service provider. STTC offers fleet managers a host of useful tools to help them better manage their fleet spend and keep track of assets. We also provide commercial truck tire retreading services with casing asset tracking capabilities so you’ll always know when it’s time to retread or replace your fleet’s tires.
Improved infrastructure may be years away, but there are still plenty of ways fleet managers can reduce the impact America’s roads have on their commercial trucks. Contact the team at STTC to find out what partnering with us can do to maximize your commercial trucking budget and improve your fleet’s performance.