Using In-Cab Driver Coaching to Maximize Fuel Efficiency

Mar 21, 2022


The average price of diesel fuel is breaking records in the United States. According to government figures, the national average was $5.25 US per gallon on March 14. Market volatility and concern over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are being felt even on this side of the Atlantic.

The current situation reminds us that energy is a finite resource, and its abundance is a privilege. Carriers need to focus on fuel efficiency, regardless of fuel prices. The use of an in-cab coaching system for drivers is an interesting option to reduce fuel consumption.

How in-cab coaching works

Data from truck manufacturers show that driving practices influence a truck’s fuel consumption by up to 30%. A real-time in-cab coaching system, such as the ISAAC Coach, allows drivers to adopt the best eco-driving practices.

The ISAAC Coach collects more than 40 parameters from the truck’s data network. This data is analyzed and transformed into simple indicators that appear on the in-cab tablet. The system calculates potential fuel savings versus actual fuel usage, based on data such as the truck’s gear ratio and accelerator pedal pressure percentage.

For drivers, the interface is simple. Three green or yellow circles help them make the best decisions. The system provides guidance on the following three items:

  • how much pressure to apply to the throttle to maximize fuel efficiency
  • when to change gears
  • whether or not to use cruise control

Three green circles indicate that drivers can push the gas pedal further. Three yellow circles indicate the throttle pressure limit is near. If the word “accel” appears on the tablet in red, the driver should ease off the throttle. The word “shift” appears when drivers should upshift or be using the top gear.

Does coaching work for all types of transportation?

When fleets monitor fuel economy, they tend to group drivers performing similar operations to facilitate comparison: region, heavy haul, city, etc. The ISAAC Coach doesn’t look at the fuel consumed, but rather at how efficiently the driver operates the truck. This means you could accurately and fairly rate two drivers performing entirely different types of transportation, whether it be city or highway, or with light or heavy loads. By following the practices suggested on the tablet, drivers will save fuel.

See the complete webinar

How much fuel savings can be expected?

ISAAC’s real-time coaching system can save up to 15% in fuel costs. But let’s hear from some of the carriers who use the system.

At Tucker Freight Lines, a dry van and flatbed carrier offering dedicated transportation services based in Iowa, the entire fleet’s fuel efficiency has increased by 1 mpg (mile per gallon). This improvement saves approximately $200 per week in fuel costs, which amounts to nearly $10,000 per year.

Cody McClain, director of safety and human resources for Tucker Freight Lines, said in a webinar that the coaching application works very well for drivers. They get immediate feedback as they drive, whether it’s about acceleration, coasting or any other driving performance element.

For Trimac, one of North America’s largest oil carriers, the company ran a pilot project of 150 to 200 trucks and collected data for nearly a year. After establishing a baseline, fuel savings began to improve with real-time monitoring and more mindful driving. Some trucks suddenly achieved fuel savings of 7 to 11 percent. The fleet average, attributed to in-cab coaching, was about 2-3%.

Improve your fleet’s fuel efficiency with ISAAC

The real-time in-cab coaching system is a valuable tool to help you achieve fuel savings. The ISAAC Coach can also support you in setting up incentive programs to reward your drivers and positively impact the safety of your fleet.

Find out how ISAAC can help you improve the fuel efficiency of your entire fleet.

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About the author

Jean-Sébastien Bouchard, Eng.

Executive Vice President of Sales and Co-founder

Jean-Sebastien Bouchard is Executive Vice-President of Sales as well as cofounder of ISAAC Instruments. He is responsible for implementing the business strategy for the telemetry and telematics solutions designed and manufactured by the company. He has more than 20 years of experience in the development, service and commercialization of telemetry solutions in the transportation industry. Thanks to his analytical skills and problem-solving abilities, he contributes to the evolution of ISAAC’s solutions.

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