Supply chain resources: On the Road

On the Road

As fuel prices rise and fall, the impact is felt on a fleet's bottom line. Adopting fuel-efficiency best practices can save trucking companies a substantial amount in fuel costs, while also reducing emissions.

Dairy transportation and distribution contributes 7.7 percent to the fluid milk carbon footprint each year - approximately 2.7 million metric tons, all of which is attributed to diesel fuel emissions.

Best Practices:

Truck improvements

  • Retrofitting trucks with trailer aerodynamics
  • Installing idle-reduction systems
  • Tire upgrades
Potential fuel reductions: More than 8 percent while driving
Up to 60 percent while idling

Driver training

  • Progressive shifting
  • Proper braking
  • Use of cruise control
  • Coasting when appropriate

Potential fuel reductions: 5 to 25 percent

Routing efficiencies

  • Integrating routing and mapping including details about where to pick up and where to deliver, and immediate access to the best route
  • Ability to plot the route using GPS coordinates

Potential fuel reductions: 5 to 25 percent

Implement and Communicate Improvements

Help the dairy industry achieve $58 million in fuel savings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 542,000 metric tons by 2020.


  • Develop a road map for improvement - Set a goal for target performance:
    • Consider how your current performance compares to your target performance.
    • What steps are necessary to move your fleet's performance to those desired levels?
    • What resources are needed?
  • Engage employees in the road map for improvement and help them identify parameters for success.
  • Join the EPA SmartWay program to help track and communicate your success.
  • Implement and assess reduction efforts.
  • Communicate your efforts and improvements to key stakeholders.

Did you Know?

As of 2016, EPA SmartWay partners report:

  • 170.3 million barrels of fuel saved - equivalent to eliminating annual energy use in over 6 million homes
  • $24.9 billion dollars in fuel costs saved
  • 72.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide eliminated
  • 1,458,000 tons of nitric oxides eliminated
  • 59,000 tons of particulate matter eliminated


Energy Champions

Case Study: Improved Route Management
The Tillamook County Creamery Association realized $2 million in savings in fuel and reduced labor for transportation by implementing a new shipping plan.
Case Study: Electronic Fleet Management
Dairy Farmers of America achieved yearly savings of 377,000 gallons of diesel fuel in addition to reducing carbon dioxide emissions by more than 949 metric tons by installing an e lectronic fleet management system.
Case Study: Transportation Management Software
The Dairy Farmers of America Mountain Area reduced fuel costs from $17,000 to $2,500 per month — an 85 percent savings by capping idling time at 13 minutes per trip.
+view more


*Please note that these case studies are the result of completed Innovation Center projects. While they can provide important information and tips for improving plant efficiency, the links and contact information contained within may no longer be supported.