It’s not easy to be an owner-operator. While there may be some increased freedoms, there are plenty of challenges too, not least of which are the costs involved in managing an independent business. It takes a savvy approach and an awareness of emerging technologies to make the most of every opportunity as an independent driver.

For fleets looking to improve their own systems, engage their drivers, and find new ways to operate more cost efficiently, it can be valuable to look at how owner-operators are doing this on a micro level.

As the price of diesel only seems to go up in recent months, there is little doubt that one of the most strenuous costs put on owner-operators and fleets both is fuel. It’s something that owner-operators are increasingly paying attention to as they look to eke out every advantage they can.

While there are many emerging technologies that promise to make trucks way more fuel efficient, there is little doubt that the driver still has a central role to play in fuel efficiency. As Mike Roeth, the executive director of NACFE, puts it: “Even with all the technology on today’s trucks, drivers still play a big role in the operating efficiency of a truck.”

For owner-operators, these direct improvements to the truck can be prohibitively expensive or unnecessarily demanding to setup. As a result, many have put their focus on the one thing they can control best: their own driving. Between reducing average speed, cutting down idling time, improving shifting, acceleration and engine speed control and so many more fuel efficient driving practices, there’s a significant margin for every owner-operator trying to optimize costs for just a single truck.

An increasing number of owner-operators have turned to our Vnomics True Fuel® platform as a means to improve fuel-efficient driving. Although first launched commercially as a full fleet solution, owner-operators also see value in technology they can rely on to help them improve driving (and save on fuel).

The perfect “coach in the cab”, True Fuel® normalizes factors that MPG can’t account for like the truck, the load, and the route. With real-time, in-cab coaching that focuses only on the driving habits they can actively work on like engine speed control, idling and speeding, fleet drivers and owner-operators alike can actively improve their fuel efficiency no matter what make, model or year of vehicle they are responsible for.

If owner-operators see so much value in a technology like this, imagine the impact it could have on a fleet as a whole. What if every driver in the fleet had a full time “coach in the cab” and was empowered to have an impact on fuel efficiency? The savings on fuel alone would be substantial, and that doesn’t even account for all the other benefits of having an objective and fair in-cab coach to support and guide your drivers day in and day out and help ensure safe, proper, low stress operation of the vehicle.

As its adoption among owner-operators prove, True Fuel® is a technology that’s good for drivers, and it’s good for fleets too. When you’ve got a whole fleet of drivers that are engaged in the effort to maximize their fuel efficiency, the combination of fuel savings and increased driver engagement and retention can have an incredible impact on the fleet’s bottom line.