What is Biofuel?

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Introduction

According to the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) guide, renewable fuels can eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, especially within fleets that have limited low emission solutions available.

A lot of attention has been paid to vehicle electrification in order to meet the net-zero target. However, the commercial fleet industry is still faced with significant technical hurdles. That’s where biofuel comes in. 

What is Biofuel?

Biofuel is a product of natural vegetable oils and fats made through a chemical process that converts oils and fats into fatty acid methyl esters. It is a clean-burning renewable fuel intended to be blended with petroleum diesel fuel or its substitute.

Biofuel: the Ultimate Solution for Improving Fleet Sustainability Credentials

With fleet companies preferring to use biofuel blends in diesel trucks and equipment, diesel powertrains will remain popular.

Top Benefits and Considerations of Biofuel

Biofuels are clean-burning and renewable alternatives for petroleum diesel produced domestically. The use of biodiesel as a fuel for your fleet comes with numerous advantages, including improved air quality and energy safety.

Improved Air Quality

Biofuel use became mandatory for vehicles manufactured after 2009 to ensure that they met specific emission standards, regardless of whether they run on diesel, biodiesel, or alternative fuel. By using Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), a superior technology which minimizes the emission of nitrogen oxide to almost zero in diesel vehicles, improving air quality is achievable.

Biofuel provides reduced carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons, particulate matter, and sulfate emissions when compared to petroleum diesel. Also, compared to traditional petroleum fuel, biofuel reduces carcinogenic compounds emissions by 85 percent. These emission reductions are directly proportional to biodiesel amounts when blended with petroleum diesel.

Energy Security

In 2019, the United States had to import 3 percent of its petroleum. Approximately 30 percent of U.S. total energy needs go to the transportation sector, and that amounts to an estimated 70 percent of petroleum consumption in the U.S.

The use of biofuel and alternative fuels, along with advanced technologies for reducing fuel consumption, play a major role in strengthening national security and minimizing transportation energy costs for consumers, specifically businesses.

The United States produces biodiesel, which directly substitutes or extends supplies of traditional petroleum diesel. For example, soybean biodiesel provides a positive energy balance as it makes 4.56 energy units per single unit of fossil energy used over its life cycle.

Improved Engine Operations

Biofuel improves lubricity and increases the amount of cetane in fuel. To prevent moving parts from wearing out easily, diesel engines rely on the fuel lubricity. There is, however, allowable fuel sulfur of 15 ppm.

It is advisable to check the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) recommendations of your engine before using biofuel. It allows you to determine the perfect blend for your vehicle. To find manufacturers who support biodiesel blends use, check here.

Safety

Biofuel is not as harmful as petroleum diesel when released into the environment. In its purest, unblended form, it is far safer than petroleum diesel, as it is less combustible. Petroleum’s flashpoint is about 52 degrees celsius, compared to biofuel’s 130 degrees celsius. 

It is also safer to store, handle, and transport biodiesel, but you’ll need a biodiesel handling guide for all the necessary handling information.

Opportunity for Decarbonization of Fleets

Heavy commercial vehicles produce an estimated 15 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), with light-duty vans accounting for a similar contribution. It is the long-haul duty vehicles that contribute the largest share of GHG emissions.

The LowCVP Renewable Fuels Guide shows how adopting renewable fuels offers the fastest, most economically viable pathways towards reducing emissions for new and used vehicles.

The guide provides fleet managers with a myriad of low carbon fuels available for their fleets, focusing mainly on high-blend biofuels that can be used in commercial vehicles.

In the UK, the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation Order (RTFO) mandated UK fuel retailers to ensure that at least 9.75 percent of all their fuel supplies are obtained from renewable sources by the start of 2020. So far, 5 percent of all road transport fuel in the UK is gotten from renewable sources, and the order requires suppliers to ensure 12.4 percent of similar supplies by 2032.

Under this scheme, the RTFO has set standards for biofuels to meet specific greenhouse gas emissions.

Biofuel and the Future

Around 40 billion gallons of petroleum diesel is consumed annually across the United States, but a complete shift to biofuel would create crazy demands for the available agricultural land. There are growing controversies over the future of biofuel, as a significant number of stakeholders argue that limited agricultural land would bring about other dire consequences. Shifting agrarian land for fuel purposes would impact food prices.

In Europe, increasing demand for biodiesel has resulted in high Indonesian oil imports. Consequently, Indonesia is facing massive deforestation as farmers continue to cut down palm plantations.

Biofuel remains the most viable option for now as it offers a far more environmentally-friendly option than ethanol, gasoline, or conventional diesel. As more research is being carried out on other possible options, or in the few cases where biofuel is not feasible, then the best way towards attaining a healthy planet is cutting down on fuel consumption.

Manage your Fleet Fuel Consumption with Azuga

Fuel costs account for significant percentages in fleet businesses, and finding the right balance to minimize fuel consumption is one way to go. Fleet operators can take a number of actions to minimize fuel consumption, even as the world agitates towards biofuel and electric cars. Investing in fuel cards is a proven way to achieve this goal. 
With so many fuel card providers, do your research to get the one that fits your business. Once you have it in place, integrate it with the in-house telematics system from Azuga. In so doing, you achieve more as a business, beyond just fuel savings and fleet tracking.

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Fleet Dispatching

If you manage a fleet, you probably already understand the delicate dance that is fleet dispatching. If not, you may not realize just how crucial this process is to the success of any fleet-based business. 

What Is Fleet Dispatching?

Simply put, fleet dispatching is the process by which commercial fleet drivers are sent out into the field to make deliveries, service customers, and handle other business-related tasks. But it involves so much more than simply telling drivers, “you go there.” Good fleet dispatching may also involve considerations for traffic conditions, road hazards, driver skill sets, customer preferences, and onboard equipment. When done correctly, it’s a skillful juggling act that helps a business reach its daily goals. When poorly handled, it can be a disaster for all concerned.

What Is a Fleet Dispatcher?

A fleet dispatcher is a person in charge of scheduling and arranging dispatch for a commercial fleet. Small fleets may have a single dispatcher to manage all calls, while larger enterprise fleets may employ an entire team. 

A fleet dispatcher must clearly understand schedules and routes, job proficiencies, fuel management, fleet maintenance, and regulations related to hours of service and other fleet compliance issues. A good fleet dispatcher knows the drivers in the fleet well and can anticipate their scheduling needs and which jobs they are most suited to handle. Fleet dispatchers must be masters of communication and have elite organizational skills.

Fleet Dispatch Software from Azuga

Fleet dispatching is as much an art as a science, and it can be overwhelming at times. The best way to support the fleet dispatchers on your team is to give them tools and technology that make the job easier. Fortunately, Azuga offers the answers to all of your fleet dispatching conundrums

Our GPS Fleet Tracking software can keep track of all the vehicles in your fleet along with large equipment and other assets. Dispatchers can use this information to see which vehicles are nearby when a job pops up. What’s more, we offer top-notch route optimization tools to help guide drivers around road construction, accidents, and other hazards that might prevent them from getting to their destination on time. We can even help you schedule routine maintenance, promote road safety, and automatically deliver dispatch notifications to drivers in the field. 

Learn about all the ways Azuga Fleet can help your commercial fleet stay productive and efficient while simplifying maintenance schedules and creating a culture of safety on the road. Schedule an Azuga demo today!

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Last Mile Delivery

Last mile delivery is the step in delivery when something moves from a transportation hub to its final destination, such as a residence or a retail store. This step must be as quick and efficient as possible to ensure that customers are satisfied, and products move as much as possible. What is last mile delivery, and how can businesses perfect it? 

Steps of Last Mile Delivery

There are five steps to last mile delivery to go through to ensure it is accurate and efficient. 

  1. Enter orders into a centralized system
    You've been tracking the order all along. At this point, the customer is most likely also tracking it through a tracking number. It’s essential that you track the order to know precisely where it is if they have any questions along the way. 
  1. Orders arrive at the transportation hub. 
    Last mile delivery begins at this step. From here, the business must ensure that the order gets to the customer as quickly and efficiently as possible. 
  1. Designate delivery personnel. 
    Designate delivery personnel to deliver the parcel using a last-mile logistics solution. 
  1. Load orders onto delivery vehicles. 
    Scan each item before loading them onto the delivery vehicles. This is an important part of tracking as it updates the sender and the recipient as to the order's status. You don’t want anything to get lost along the way. 
  1. The order reaches the recipient. 
    Once the order reaches the customer, the last mile delivery process is complete. Be sure to update the tracking information to indicate the item has been delivered. 

Last Mile Delivery Challenges

Big-name companies like Amazon and Walmart are replacing last mile delivery with middle mile delivery. With middle mile delivery, the company owns the fulfillment, so the delivery process goes from the port to the fulfillment center. The problem with last mile delivery is that it is expensive: it can account for 53% of a shipment’s total costs. Supply chain inefficiencies are increasing as need grows, and so costs are only going up. It’s vital to optimize last mile delivery if you want to use it for your business. 

How to Optimize Last Mile Delivery

Technology is the answer to optimizing last mile delivery. Route planning software, for example, can minimize delivery costs and cut the time that it takes to deliver. Auto dispatching also helps to cut down on mistakes and time. Finally, gathering data and getting detailed reports can help identify problems in your operations and tell you how to improve upon your weaknesses. Fleet management software like Azuga offers all of these features and more to help optimize your last mile delivery options. 

Conclusion

Last mile delivery is still the standard way smaller businesses do their deliveries, and Azuga makes it possible to keep last mile delivery, even while competing with big retailers. Find out more about Azuga by reading our blog or visiting our website.

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Last Mile Carrier

Last mile carriers are the shipping companies that carry out last mile deliveries. Examples of last mile carriers include UPS, FedEx, USPS, and regional carriers. Last mile delivery is the step in delivery when something moves from a transportation hub to its final destination, which may be a residence or a retail store. Last mile carriers offer many benefits, which we will outline below. 

Tracking

Many last mile carriers allow customers to track their package on a map or see how many stops away it is. Other providers give customers a very specific estimated arrival time. Previously, it could only be estimated within windows of several hours, so this is an impressive and essential feat for customer service. 

Ability to Communicate with the Driver

If anything is needed when delivery drivers are on the road, it used to be impossible to get in touch with them. Now, apps allow customers to communicate directly with their drivers to update them on any changes that come up during the delivery window. 

SMS Updates

One benefit of tracking drivers is sending SMS updates if a package is ever delayed, and even update customers on when it arrives so they can plan their day accordingly. They no longer need to worry about expensive packages being lost or stolen, since they can pick them up right away. It’s ideal for keeping customers updated and satisfied. 

Delivery Ratings

Customers can rate how their deliveries went and leave feedback that delivery companies can use to improve their methods and improve customer service even further. Customers appreciate their voices being heard, and companies need to hear how their employees are doing. 

Conclusion

Last mile carriers are an integral part of the last mile delivery system. Last mile fleets must have the technology to track delivery drivers and update customers with necessary information. Azuga offers this technology and more to help streamline operations and keep everything running smoothly with the entire last mile delivery process. Find out more on our website.

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