This is a guest post by Greg Carter of usedsemitrailers.com.
Eco-trends tend to be driven by certain incentives for making the effort to go green. This isn’t to say that there isn’t a desire by companies to make decisions best for the planet. It’s just that some of these green efforts can be costly, especially if expensive upgrades are involved. When you add a few incentives, the pot suddenly becomes sweeter. Trucking companies, like other businesses today, just want to remain profitable in a tough economic climate. As one trucking industry publication observed “What good is going green if you’re going to be out of business in five years?” Yet, there are still some incentives that tip the scales in favor of trucking companies that choose to go green.
Lower Fuel Costs
With the price of gas at outrageous levels, anything that reduces fuel costs in welcomed. This usually includes updating trucking equipment or purchasing newer fuel-efficient trucks. Even small improvements can boost fuel economy. Changing to fuel-efficient tires can shave about 10 percent off overall operation costs, according to some estimates. Reducing idle time may cut fuel consumption by as much as 20 percent. According to estimates by Wal-Mart, new fuel-efficient technology could double fuel economy by 2015. Cutting fuel consumption also makes trucking companies less vulnerable when gas prices spike.
Tax and Financial Incentives
Reducing emissions can make trucking companies eligible for some green certification programs such as the EPA’s SmartWay and Responsible Care program. Some states offer additional tax incentives for companies that make a green effort. Washington State, for example, does not charge sales tax on renewable energy equipment sold or purchased in the state. Most trucking companies do business in several states or at least travel through multiple states. It just makes sense to keep up on the different incentives each state offers for making certain green choices.
Staying Ahead of Regulations
Eighteen states have idle-free legislation on the books requiring trucking companies to eliminate idle time as much as possible. Every state has emissions laws in place or set to take effect concerning the trucking industry. Waiting until the last minute can leave trucking companies unprepared to make changes without losing business. Taking steps now to prepare for such legislation allows changes and upgrades to be made over time, rather than all at once to keep trucks running.
Lower Maintenance Costs
Updating to new equipment or doing things like switching to fuel-efficient tires may seem like an unnecessary initial expense, but can payoff in the long run. Updating equipment and replacing some of the older trucks in your fleet means fewer maintenance-related expenses. This equates to fewer trucks out of service for repair, resulting in more revenue. Fuel-efficient technologies also tend to reduce engine wear, meaning trucks can stay in service longer.
Generally, any company that makes a green effort tends to brag about that fact in their marketing efforts. The same is true for trucking companies. Many customers are looking for companies that keep up with fuel-efficient technology and show a willingness to embrace green trends. The “green advantage,” as some in the marketing world call in, is a way for a company to toot its own horn – so to speak. Companies that make changes before they are required tend to get noticed. This creates the impression that a company is an industry leader, rather than a follower.
There really isn’t any way to get around the green movement. Any trucking company that plans to do business on just about any level will have to make certain updates and embrace fuel-efficient technology. Making an early effort to embrace these changes has several benefits, including bragging rights by being perceived as an industry leader, cutting down on maintenance expenses and qualifying for some tax breaks and federal programs. Going green could just mean saving a little green. Now, that’s an incentive everyone can stand behind.
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