If it seems that the trucks cruising down the highways these days are going a little slower than usual, there's a reason for that. Several major carriers are placing speed restrictions on their rigs to save fuel and reduce air pollution.
One such hauler is less-than-truckload carrier Con-way Freight, which announced last month that it's limiting its fleet of 8,400 trucks to 62 miles per hour. (Trucking companies are able to limit how fast their rigs travel by adjusting the speed governors on the trucks' engines.) That's three miles per hour slower than the company's previous limit.
A change of just a few miles per hour can be significant. Con-way, for instance, estimates that the drop from 65 to 62 miles per hour will reduce its annual fuel consumption, which now stands at about 100 million gallons, by 3.2 million gallons. In addition, the move will cut carbon emissions by approximately 72 million pounds.
"Freight transportation, by its nature, is a significant consumer of carbon-based energy resources," John G. Labrie, Con-way Freight president, said in a press release. "Yet it also is one where if we look creatively at how we operate the business, we can find and adopt practices that reduce our carbon footprint and help the bottom line."
Con-way Truckload (formerly Contract Freighters Inc.) is also in the process of reducing the maximum speed for its longhaul trucks. Truckload carrier Schneider National currently sets its speed limits at 65 miles per hour when drivers have feet to the pedal and 63 when they use cruise control. Other motor carriers reportedly are considering similar measures, but none have released their plans yet.