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March 17, 2019 9:45 PM, EDT

NACFE’s Second ‘Run on Less’ Competition to Focus on Regional Drivers

Run on Less Roeth (Joseph Terry/Transport Topics)

ATLANTA — The North American Council for Freight Efficiency has started to accept applications for its second “Run on Less” competition, focusing on the technologies and vehicle specifications for improving fuel efficiency in trucking.

Fleets will find out if they have been selected in June. The event will take place Oct. 8-25 with the winner announced Oct. 27 in Atlanta.

But rather than doing the same type of competition as in 2017, this year’s will focus on regional drivers, those that operate within 300 miles of their base, and NACFE is rebranding this year’s challenge calling it “Run on Less Regional.”

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“This is all part of not wanting to repeat what we did in 2017, but do something new,” NACFE Executive Director Mike Roeth said at a news conference March 17 that was part of American Trucking Associations’ 2019 Technology & Maintenance Council annual meeting.

“It will continue to be real freight, real trucks, real drivers, real routes and that also means the equipment on the trucks and trailers will be commercially available.”

NACFE said regional driving is becoming a larger segment of the industry, especially as e-commerce continues to grow. The Census Bureau said 2018 third-quarter U.S. e-commerce adjusted sales were nearly $131 billion, a 14.5% increase from the same period in 2017.

From 2009 through the midpoint of 2018, online sales jumped from less than 4% of the retail marketplace to 10%, and experts say that number is expected to increase. That means more drivers are operating from local and regional warehouses, and, in many cases, driving in smaller geographic areas.

Roeth said it’s not just the changing economy that caused the organization to decide on a different type of competition.

“You have truck drivers wanting to be closer to home,” he said. “We hear things like they want to be one drive away from home, so they can get home in a day if they have to and they want to be home with their families more often. And big fleets are saying they can’t even hire drivers if they even talk about being out two to three weeks,” he emphasized.

Roeth said he expects a diverse group of fleets to enter.

“We think there will be sleepers and daycabs. The primary requirement is that the truck remains in a 300-mile radius of its base,” Roeth said. “So you could envision a day cab tractor going out 250 miles, dropping their freight, or maybe unloading the freight for a few hours, and then returning. We might also see, under the requirement of 300 miles or less, a truck that might be out for the whole week but it stays in the region.”

The first “Run on Less” competition in 2017 was a cross-country road show that demonstrated the fuel efficiency of Class 8 trucks in over-the-road operation. The seven trucks in that three-week event averaged 10.1 mpg throughout the event.

NACFE said it hopes to have 10 drivers from 10 companies nationwide involved in the event, and the organization is seeking input from industry stakeholders on what the regional run should look like, what duty cycles should be included and what should be measured.

All of the drivers who compete in the event will have their trucks equipped with real-time monitoring equipment so NACFE can track variable items such as routes and weather conditions the drivers face. “It’s the top gun pilots of the trucking industry,” NACFE Director Dave Schaller said. “They’re getting together, sharing tips, how they are doing things and sharing some of the technologies that their fleets use and others don’t use. So this is really neat to see our industry getting together.”

Drivers or fleets interested in competing can get more information at runonless.com or NACFE.org.