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March 7, 2018 Vol. 15 No. 5

First, some random observations from the road, before I get into the meat of things…

The road in this case is the 900 km or so from Toronto to Indianapolis, IN, where I’m attending both the Green Truck Summit and The Work Truck Show. They’re two of the best events on my calendar, well run and informative from start to finish, operated by the National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA).

Anyway, the road was interesting as always and since I haven’t managed a decent drive in quite a while, it was especially sweet. There’s nothing like a road trip for at least a few of us who don’t do it for a living, as some of you readers do. In this case it was a simple combination of Highways 401 and 402 to Sarnia, then Interstate 69 all the way south to Indy.

First observation: I saw something altogether new, at least to me, a branding message on the side of a dump truck’s box. Not a particularly clean one either. I couldn’t catch all of it, and traffic was such that I couldn’t linger to have a better look, but in quite large yellow letters on a red box it read “We build schools, hospitals and…” I rarely see even a company name on a dump box. I thought it was cool. And smart.

Second observation: nothing new about this one, as I’ve passed Interstate Lake near Lansing, MI probably a hundred times. Each time I laugh. Who on earth would come up with ‘Interstate’ as a lake’s name? Does it conjure up images of campfires and canoes and maybe what my grandfather would called canoodling under a moonlit sky? No sir, it’s exactly what it says — a lake, maybe even man-made, right by the side of I-69. Come to think of it, finding some romantic name for this body of water — and it’s no mere puddle — might have been a waste of time anyway. There’s something to be said for pragmatism.

And three: I passed dozens upon dozens of trucks on this busy freight route and saw but two trailers equipped with aerodynamics-improver ‘tails’. Just two. Not so many more with side skirts for that matter, but some of those add-ons were emblazoned with proud claims like “Going Green!” Really now, does that make sense? I fear that this is often the definition of paying lip service to some high ambition.

Which brings me neatly to the events that took me to Indiana.

BEING A ‘GREEN’ FLEET, is not just a matter of tailpipe emissions, according to Kary Schaefer, general manager of marketing and strategy at Daimler Trucks North America. It’s also about efficiency and uptime, and it all stands on three pillars: safety, connectivity, and propulsion systems.

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Rolf Lockwood is editor emeritus of Today's Trucking and a regular contributor to Trucknews.com.