How to reduce your fuel bill for free

by Mike Millian

One thing that has been constant in the trucking industry since the advent of the motor vehicle, is a company’s fuel bill is always one of its highest expenditures.

Over the years, and ramped-up significantly in the last decade and a half, governments have placed strict and significant regulations on engine and vehicle manufacturers, which have required them to reduce the pollutants that left the smokestack and entered into the environment. 

Recently the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced proposed regulations that place stringent fuel economy standards on trucks and engines, beginning on 2021 model year trucks and being phased in through to 2027.

Changes to trailers will also be required to improve fuel efficiency starting in 2018 and phased in until 2027.

The most recent proposed standards are expected to add about US$12,000 to the cost of a highway tractor.

No one will argue against wanting to do everything that is reasonable to ensure we release less pollutants into the air and at the same time we all want to use less fuel, as improving our fuel economy will reduce our fuel bill and help improve our bottom lines.

Where the arguments come in revolve around what is reasonable, the costs involved, and whether the technology is ready for commercial use to get us there without unreasonable amounts of failure and downtime that companies can’t afford (as seen in some previous rounds of mandates – 2007 comes to mind).

No matter how many regulations we put in place, and no matter how much we improve the efficiency and design of the trucks and trailers we use, the factor that has the biggest effect on fuel economy will still always be largely dependent on the men and women who hold the steering wheel and control the fuel pedals of these vehicles.

A safe and fuel-efficient driver will get the best fuel economy possible out of whatever vehicle they are operating.

On the contrary, a driver who is less trained in fuel-efficient driving practices can sabotage the fuel economy of the best-spec’d truck in the world.

The best way to improve your fleet’s fuel economy is to ensure your drivers are trained properly on how to get the most mileage out of every ounce of fuel they use.

One of the best training programs available to fleets and drivers to improve their fuel efficiency is SmartDriver for Highway Trucking (SDHT), a program that has been designed and recently revamped by Natural Resources Canada.

SDHT is a driver training program designed to help professional drivers and transportation companies reduce fuel use, improve safety and cut costs.

This two-hour course focuses on energy management factors within a driver’s control.

Participants gain greater knowledge of fuel-saving driving techniques that can be put into practice immediately.

Companies and drivers get an added benefit out of this training as well, as in almost every case, a fuel-efficient driver is also a driver who operates their vehicle with best-in-class defensive driving techniques.

Plain and simple, a fuel-efficient driver is also a safe driver, who is less likely to be involved in an accident.

The Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario (TTSAO) has been approved to provide this training, absolutely free of cost to your fleet, for a limited time.

As a fleet manager, all you need to do is reserve your space by contacting the TTSAO, or the PMTC office if you are a PMTC member.

If you are a PMTC member outside of Ontario, please contact our office and we will set up training for you through other approved providers. Other than providing a meeting space and some refreshments or snacks for your drivers, you have no other out-of-pocket investment required for the training.

What better value can you get than this? No $12,000 upcharge, no multi-year wait to see a payback on your investment – the savings will be realized as soon as your driver hits the road.

Perhaps sometimes the best things in life still are free. To book your training, or for more information, contact the TTSAO at admin@ or the PMTC office at 

Remember, the free training is for a limited time only, so reserve your spot today. 


Mike Millian is president of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, the only national association that represents the views and interests of the private fleet industry. He can be reached at

Have your say

This is a moderated forum. Comments will no longer be published unless they are accompanied by a first and last name and a verifiable email address. (Today's Trucking will not publish or share the email address.) Profane language and content deemed to be libelous, racist, or threatening in nature will not be published under any circumstances.