What is Biofuel?

< Back to Glossary

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.

< Back to Glossary

What is Fleet Data?

Tracking fleet data is vitally important to running a fleet in any industry. Any kind of data can be tracked, from where vehicles are, to what assets a company has on hand, to the safety of drivers and vehicles. All of this information is important for fleet managers to know to make their fleet effective and productive. What is fleet data, and how can it help fleets be more effective?

Fleet Data for Vehicle Maintenance

Keeping up with vehicle maintenance is one of the best ways to keep vehicles on the road for the long haul. With how much time fleets spend driving, wear and tear on a vehicle is inevitable, but fleet managers can reduce this by harnessing telematics and maintenance alerts. Telematics can tell managers when a vehicle has engine trouble or when a driver is being rough on the brakes or idling too much. Managers can also set up maintenance alerts so they do not have to try and remember when each vehicle needs routine maintenance. Preventative maintenance is crucial to a vehicle’s longevity and will help it stay on the road for years to come. 

Fleet Data for Safety

Any fleet’s top priority is safety. Drivers and vehicles are integral to a fleet business’s entire operation, and ensuring that they do their jobs safely is a huge part of a fleet manager’s job. Luckily fleet data can track driver behavior and determine if drivers are behaving safely behind the wheel. Telematics can track actions such as hard braking, rapid acceleration, distracted driving, and speeding. When drivers display any of these behaviors, they will receive an alert. If the behaviors continue, the system will alert the fleet manager, who can then choose to get in touch with the driver. Accidents can cost thousands of dollars, and days of lost time for businesses, so avoiding them is crucial for companies to succeed. 

Fleet Data for Asset Tracking

Asset tracking is terrific for preventing theft, but it is also ideal for fleet managers to keep track of what they have on hand in their warehouse. Often, assets and equipment sit unused in a warehouse, taking up space that something practical could be occupying. With asset data, fleet managers can determine what assets the fleet does not use and get rid of them, making room for something that will be more beneficial for the company. Furthermore, knowing what’s on hand prevents double-purchasing, which saves the company money as well. 

Conclusion

Tracking fleet data is essential for keeping a fleet productive and effective. It is all part of a fleet manager’s job. Luckily, Azuga has many tools to help with tracking fleet data. Reach out to the experts at Azuga today to find out how to get started gathering data today so that you can do the best for your fleet.


Read More

Record of Duty Status

Each driver is required by the law to record a driver’s duty of status every 24 hours, using the structures stipulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). A record of duty status (RODS) can also be referred to as a driver’s log. It allows drivers to record details such as date, vehicle number, totals driving hours, the total number of miles driven within 24 hours, carrier’s name, a 24-hour period starting time, address, driver’s certification/signature, and remarks. 

Records can be maintained using an electronic logging device (ELD), using an FMCSA approved automatic on-board recording gadget, or even manually on a grid. Logs must be validated at all times by indicating each change in a duty status.

Exemptions to Record of Duty Status

A RODS is mandatory as part of Hours of Service (HOS) rules, which applies to commercial vehicles (CMVs). However, a few cases of short-haul carriers are exempt from maintaining records of duty status. 

Company policies may be different, but the FMCSA only expects drivers to record time and location after every stop.

Since the introduction of the ELD mandate, several motor carriers are leaning toward electronic logging devices to maintain their records of duty status automatically. Companies were given until December 16, 2019 to update automatic on-board recording devices to the latest ones, meaning there were also some exemptions to the ELD Rule.

Exemptions to RODS regulations include the following:

  • Drivers driving within a radius of 150 air-miles
  • Drivers of CMVs driving within a radius of 150 air-miles, who do not need a CDL, and at the same time operate within a radius of 150 air-miles of their daily reporting locations.

For drivers to qualify for the exemption, they must meet all the requirements stated by the regulations. Failure to meet even one of the requirements means all HOS rules apply.

Electronic Logging Devices

A driver must produce ELD records when requested by a safety official, either immediately, or within the permissible time if the motor carrier operates from more than one terminal or office. A motor carrier is supposed to retain a back-up copy of all ELD records for at least six months.

Only carriers or drivers falling under the exempted categories may use other recording methods, which may include automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) to maintain driver record of duty status.

Submitting and Retaining Driver Record of Duty Status Paper Logs

Being exempted from the ELD rule does not mean you are automatically exempted from the HOS regulations. A driver is required to submit original paper log sheets to their respective carriers within 13 days after the completion of their trips. The driver retains a copy of all RODS for the previous seven days, which must be produced on request for inspection at the time they are on duty. Drivers must also sign all hard copies of RODS.

Electronic HOS Regulations

The idea behind mandating the ELD rules was to provide accurate, consistent, and accessible methods of logging driver hours of service, and simultaneously create a safer working environment. The new measures were intended to ensure drivers took necessary breaks and rested appropriately, and to ensure they remained alert while driving. Making the switch from manual processes like logbooks to electronic hours of service tools makes it easier for businesses to keep up with the FMCSA requirements.

However, the implementation of electronic logging devices does not change the fleet manager’s responsibility to track off duty or driving hours. What it does require is that you make use of a log tracking device and software system.

Who Should Comply with ELD HOS Logging?

The HOS rules apply to drivers operating CMVs such as school buses and semi-trucks. For a vehicle to be classified as a CMV, it must fulfil the following:

  • Weigh above 10,000 pounds
  • Have a combined weight rating or gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds
  • Be used for transporting 16 or more persons, including the driver, or nine or more passengers for commercial transport purposes
  • Transport goods classified as hazardous and require placards

If a vehicle meets the qualifications above, it is required by the law to comply with HOS regulations and to maintain decent hours of service log. 

Common Hours of Service Violations - And How to Fix Them

Besides ordinary traffic violations and unsafe driving, it is common among drivers to fail to comply with HOS regulations. Hours of Service compliance counts as one of the core basics of CSA, and maintaining a low score is often a result of piling frustrations.

The ability to fix problems associated with hours of service is the most crucial way to keep safety scores in check, and helps in controlling the frequency of roadside inspections.

Below are the most common violations of Hours of Service and how you can fix them.

Clerical Form Errors

When entering data manually, issues like mathematical errors, poor handwriting, the omission of essential information, and many other mistakes, may arise. These are issues that can be minimized by implementing an electronic system that automatically fills in the required data when it is needed. Tired drivers can easily leave out essential data, which could be deemed a violation of the hours of service regulations.

Not Updating Statuses

The driver record of duty status graph shown on a log must always be up to date, showing each detail of changes. Forgetting, or simply failing to update duty status is common among drivers and leads to severe roadside inspections. It is mostly due to drivers failing on their mandate to remain vigilant by changing statuses.

It is easy to fix this recurring problem with the simple touch of a screen. All drivers have to do is to indicate the time their shifts start, and to change their status to off-duty when shifts end. Electronic logbooks are designed to detect when a vehicle is stationary or in motion, and gives accurate data at all times.

No Records of Duty Status

Failing to properly maintain your RODS and not maintaining logs for seven days is a violation that can lead to hefty fines. Drivers of companies running smaller vehicles may not be aware of what is required of them, but they must check with the relevant authorities. Inspectors ask for records of the previous seven days. Therefore, drivers must not misplace any record whatsoever.

Partner with Azuga for FMCSA Compliance

Azuga works with you to deliver customized solutions for fleets and drivers. It doesn’t matter the size of your fleet, Azuga offers the right products and technology to duly maintain drivers’ records of duty status and keep you compliant with the hours of service regulations.

Read More

What is an Enterprise Fleet?

If you utilize company vehicles during the course of business, you might want to familiarize yourself with enterprise fleet management and maintenance. Operating a fleet can be a challenge. Luckily there are things that you can do to make your life a lot easier. In this article, we will answer what is an enterprise fleet? Plus, we’ll outline four key tips you should know about enterprise fleet management and an additional three tips about enterprise fleet maintenance.

What is an Enterprise Fleet?

An enterprise fleet, simply put, is a fleet of vehicles leased or owned by a business. Automotive Fleet Magazine defines enterprise fleets as commercial entities with 15 or greater vehicles. A wide range of businesses operate enterprise fleets. For example, delivery businesses and many businesses who do on-site service calls or have representatives travel to meet with clients have enterprise fleets.

The enterprise fleet industry is huge in the United States. Automotive Magazine recently released a report that outlines the number of cars and trucks that are leased or owned by enterprise fleets in the United States. Fleets in the U.S. leased 431,000 vehicles last year and owned 204,000 vehicles. There are a total of 727,000 trucks being leased by enterprise fleets and 1,860,000 trucks are owned by them.

In some areas, enterprise fleets are also made up of vehicles that are privately owned (or leased) by employees but used for business purposes. These are known as “grey fleet” vehicles. 

Tips on Enterprise Fleet Management

Enterprise fleet management can be a challenge. It’s a fast-paced job that requires you to stay on your toes. Fleet managers are often responsible for drivers and accountable to management. Below are four tips on how to excel in enterprise fleet management:

1. Create Instructions for Enterprise Fleet Vehicle Acquisition and Disposal

When a business lacks purchasing and disposal guidelines for fleet vehicles they may be giving up thousands of dollars through inefficiencies. Consistency is very important in enterprise fleet management.

Your company should look into bulk purchasing and understand the right time or number of miles at which to best sell a vehicle. Enterprise fleet managers should spec out options for fleet vehicles and assemble a purchasing plan. In addition, they should gain insight into the optimal time to dispose of fleet vehicles.

2. Be Proactive When it Comes to Safety

Fleet drivers face a whole host of distractions and safety hazards on the job. Great fleet managers know how to get ahead of things that might become problems. Invest in safety before accidents happen.

Investing in safety may look like hands-free devices for your drivers, installing an app that monitors driver behavior on their phones, or an in-cab camera that oversees drivers while they’re on the road. Ultimately, being proactive about safety will save your company money in the long run.

3. Set Performance Goals for Drivers

Many fleet managers find it useful to incentivize drivers to perform well. Drivers may be encouraged to achieve higher fuel efficiency or perform vehicle inspections regularly. No matter what goal you set, you should hold your drivers to a high-performance standard.

Driver behavior monitoring makes it simple to set goals and encourage safe driving habits. Actionable goals help managers encourage drivers to improve their driving habits. 

4. Continually Educate Yourself on the Enterprise Fleet Industry 

The best fleet managers know that the fleet industry is constantly changing and it's vital that managers keep up. Top fleet managers join industry associations, read trade publications and blogs, and overall keep up with what is happening in the industry.

Often fleet managers will discover new technologies to adopt when reading up on the fleet industry. This helps them keep ahead of the competition. With so much information readily available online, it’s never been easier for fleet managers to keep up-to-date and ahead of the curve.

Tips on Enterprise Fleet Maintenance

Fleet maintenance is integral to running a top-performing enterprise fleet. Here are three tips on how to excel at enterprise fleet maintenance:

1. Know Your Total Cost of Ownership

Pay attention to your maintenance costs and make note when they start to rise because of a vehicle’s age. Make sure you comprehend the warranty coverage provided by the manufacturer and the way it impacts the vehicle’s total cost of ownership. Those who excel at enterprise fleet management understand trends in the used vehicle market, the residual value of fleet vehicles, and the best time to sell fleet vehicles to obtain a cost-effective enterprise fleet.

2. Properly Spec Fleet Vehicles

A vital part of fleet maintenance is performing specs on vehicles. It’s important that this job is performed well. You should be aware of the demands your fleet vehicles will face. Make sure to outline vehicle usage.

The danger is that under-specing a fleet vehicle can lead to maintenance issues down the line that could put a dent in your budget. On the other hand, an over-spec’d fleet vehicle can also increase costs. Great fleet managers know the criteria involved with specing (operating conditions, what’s being carried, usage, etc.) and try to make theirs as accurate as possible.

3. Perform Preventative Maintenance

One of the most important things to understand about enterprise fleet maintenance is the cost savings involved in preventative maintenance. Well-maintained fleet vehicles are less likely to require unscheduled downtime or repairs. Some examples of preventative maintenance are general vehicle safety checks, oil changes, and tire rotation, and inspection. Make sure to perform these activities on a regular schedule.


Good enterprise fleet management practices help leaders in the fleet management industry achieve more. Take your fleet to the next level when you implement smart technology like Azuga Fleet™. The Azuga team is here to help boost your fleet’s productivity, improve safety, and save you hundreds each year. 

Read More