Aaron Terrazas (director of economic development at Convoy), compared the economic and ecological benefits of reducing empty kilometers in a transportation system to waiting for electrification or alternative fuel vehicles to enter the market. He discovered the huge advantages.The immediate impact of route optimization upon carbon emissions.
His impact is greater today because of the current state of technology and deployment. This will naturally decrease over time. The impact of reducing empty miles on carbon footprint will be greater than electrification and alternative fuels up to 2034. Both are important for different horizons. It is a situation where both are possible.
Terrazas stated that the industry’s discussion about empty miles started in the 1970s during an oil crisis. Rising fuel prices made it more difficult to avoid costly deadhead miles, especially for owner-operators.
Terrazas stated that the average owner-operator pays $25,000 to fuel for fuel to run empty given current fuel prices. Larger fleets have been using technology to optimize their fleets for decades and can get down to 10-15% empty miles. Owner-operators are currently doubling this percentage without technology, and we believe they can get closer towards that large fleet efficiency.
Brokers and private fleets will need to work together to reduce waste and increase efficiency.