A Glance at
Clean Freight Strategies:
Driver training programs can help trucking companies save fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by
increasing drivers’ skills, knowledge, and performance. A driver-training program that improves fuel economy
by 5 percent could save over $1,200 in fuel costs and eliminate eight metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions
per truck each year.
What is the challenge?
Even highly experienced truck drivers can boost their
skills and enhance driving performance through
driver training programs. Training that targets fuel
efficiency can help drivers recognize and change
driving habits that waste fuel. For example, driving 65
mph instead of 55 mph can use up to 20% more fuel.
Idling an engine burns almost one gallon of fuel per
hour. Driving with the engine rpm too high can waste
several gallons of fuel each hour. Other common
habits that reduce fuel economy are frequent or
improper shifting, too-rapid acceleration, too-frequent
stops and starts from failing to anticipate traffic flow,
and taking circuitous routes.
A few simple changes in driving techniques can
produce sizable fuel savings of 5 percent or more. A
Canadian study estimates that many fleets could
achieve a 10 percent fuel economy improvement
through driver training and monitoring. For a typical
combination truck, a 10 percent saving is the
equivalent of nearly $2,500. A study for the European
Commission estimates that an annual one-day driver-
training course will improve truck fuel efficiency by
five percent. Two trucking fleets in Canada
documented the impact of driver training and found
fuel efficiency improvements of 18 percent and 20
What is the solution?
Well-trained drivers can reduce fuel consumption by
applying a number of simple techniques. These
include: use cruise control where appropriate; coast
whenever possible; block-shift (go from, for example,
2nd gear to 5th gear); brake and accelerate smoothly
and gradually; progressive shift (upshift at the lowest
rpm possible); limit unnece