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How to make sustainable use of fuels

Dec 20, 2022

As any logistics company can tell you, fuel is one of the largest overhead expenses. It may even be a business’ most expensive cost! There are peaks and valleys in the price of natural gas and petroleum, but this fluctuation makes purchasing fuel even more stressful and harder to budget. Fuel costs are affected by myriad factors such as geopolitics and natural reserve discoveries, which makes anticipating the price extremely difficult.

Beyond trying to budget for wildly varying sums, logistics businesses also need to take the environmental impact of their fuel use into consideration. Consumers are increasingly purchasing only from companies that demonstrate a commitment to minimizing their carbon footprint. It’s common knowledge that traditional fossil fuels (especially oil) have tremendously negative effects on the environment, such as greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to worsening climate change.

So, between your pocket and Mother Nature, it’s prudent to implement methods for more sustainable fuel use. How can you do that? Let’s find out:

Plan fuel-efficient delivery routes

This solution is, perhaps, the most self-evident one. By mapping out the shortest passage, you’ll obviously use less fuel (regardless of the mode of transport). But, you can go one step further by instituting a minimum-order rule. Schedule deliveries only when your vehicle is filled to a certain capacity. In this way, you’ll make fewer trips and maximize the fuel you use. If you’re at a loss as to how to do this, there’s good news: Plenty of data-driven intelligent software platforms exist to help logistics companies strategize the best freight paths.

Use electric vehicles

Naturally, making the switch to electric vehicles (EVs) is entirely dependent on your transportation method. That is, it’s possible only for road freight. However, as Trucking.org explains, given that trucking constitutes over 70% of America’s total shipments (as opposed to air or sea freight), using EVs will have a considerable positive impact on the environment. Because they rely on lithium batteries either totally or in part, not only do EVs emit less carbon dioxide (always a bonus for the environment), but they also use less fuel than most vehicles. According to Fast Company, because electric motors are miles more efficient than combustion engines, you’ll be saving hefty amounts of money.

Consider alternative fuel sources

Fuel isn’t just the gas we put in our cars — electricity largely still relies on coal and most generators use diesel, both of which are fossil fuels that pollute our air and soil. So, what are your other options? If your city or grid isn’t connected to a renewable energy source such as a local hydropower dam, you can think about investing in a solar power system for your operations base. If it’s viable and compatible with the vehicles you have in your fleet, you might want to use sustainable biofuels like ethanol made from high-energy plant crops, per DHL.

These are just three ways in which you can make your fuel use more sustainable and, as technology continues to evolve at a breakneck speed, there will be many more in the near future.

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