Full Service Truck Lease Trends for 2024

Fleet Management|Blogs
trucks on highway at dusk

As the trucking industry navigates 2024, four key trends that equipment acquisition executives consider will significantly impact truck purchasing and fleet maintenance: regulatory developments, tightening emissions rules, the growing popularity of electric trucks, and challenges in retaining truck technicians.

Let’s explore the scope of these obstacles and the multifaceted benefits of fleet leasing as a solution.

Regulatory developments

The regulatory ecosystem for trucking and transportation is vast and complex. Extensive federal and state regulations tackle everything from emissions to road usage to vehicle safety. As environmental preservation becomes a higher priority, trucking companies must often manage a web of strict regulations that can consume overwhelming time and resources.

Staying compliant with these regulations is mandatory in order to avoid fines and legal consequences. This includes California’s zero-emission rule, a benchmark law that impacts in-state and out-of-state drivers alike.

Long-term truck-leasing companies can be helpful allies in regulatory understanding and compliance. The leasing company assumes compliance responsibility and ensures their fleet meets safety and emissions standards, and handles all preventative maintenance. Because regulations change frequently, and vary from state to state, having experts monitoring them is valuable.

Leasing companies can assist with equipping fleets with up-to-date technology. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s mandate on electronic logging devices (ELD) affects over three million commercial truck drivers. ELDs reduce paperwork and fleet-operator violations by automatically recording a driver's duty status (RODS) and hours of service (HOS). Industry innovators Ryder and Geotab partnered to create the only comprehensive ELD solution in the industry on all their vehicles, which helps owners, managers, and drivers maintain compliance and provide full visibility into fleet operations to maximize uptime.

Emissions rules

The EPA and CARB have recently passed legislation that will significantly impact the trucking industry. In April 2023, the EPA rolled out ambitious standards intended to lower harmful air pollutant emissions from light-duty and medium-duty vehicles beginning with model year 2027. The proposed changes mark the next step in standards set for federal greenhouse gas emissions for passenger cars and light trucks for model years 2023 through 2026.

These new standards would phase in over model years 2027 through 2032 and take advantage of clean car technology advances to improve public health, mitigate the effects of climate change, and save drivers money by lowering fuel and maintenance costs.

These new standards pose challenges for fleet owners and operators. If they plan on ordering new trucks, they must choose between diesel alternatives or paying a premium for diesel trucks that have new emissions-reduction technologies. Most leasing providers state the regulations and their timelines are unrealistic and costly, particularly the hardware needed to lower their nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from 2 milligrams to .035 mg, an 82.5% cut.

Analysts predict that the cost increases will land between $20,000 and $25,000 per vehicle. A significant run on vehicle purchases is anticipated in mid-year 2025, with a “no-buy” starting in January 2026.

This is a time of major environmental regulatory changes. The movement to zero-emission feels inevitable, and leasing providers are a key ally in helping fleet managers navigate this brave new world.

Diesel-alternative vehicles

Electric vehicles are poised to have a strong 2024. Leasing companies offer opportunities for fleets to integrate them and other alternative power solutions. But the technology is still new enough that it may make more sense economically to lease rather than purchase these vehicles.

Leasing providers can help ease the challenges around several issues:

  • Picking a vehicle: There are many alternative powertrain options, and a lessor can help you pick the right one for your business. They have buying power that can lower costs and lease payments. If you decide to go with alternative power vehicle, or back to diesel, the lessor handles selling or leasing your current vehicle(s)
  • Servicing the vehicle: A full-service lease means someone else handles preventive maintenance, tires, towing, and roadside assistance
  • Predictable expenses: Once your monthly payment is set, you can more accurately predict expenses and budget accordingly

Companies like Ryder have decades of operational and maintenance experience with alternative-power vehicles. Ryder maintains a fleet of electric, electric hybrid, natural gas and biodiesel vehicles that meet and exceed environmental standards.

Hiring (and keeping) truck technicians

Drivers are key to a thriving supply chain, but wIthout technicians, there are no functioning trucks. There is a significant truck technician shortage nationwide, and many experienced technicians currently working are nearing or have reached retirement age. This leaves a sizable gap that younger workers need to fill. Trucking firms are struggling to recruit, train, and retain new technicians.

There is clearly a need for accelerated diesel technician training. A key tool is tech-school programs. Industry leaders like Navistar and Peterbilt have established high-school mentorship programs, and leasing companies like Ryder have ramped up recruiting and training efforts to engage a diverse new generation of technicians. They have also established partnerships with tech schools to support ongoing local training.

Another key element in retaining technicians is shop culture. Many technicians cite this, rather than pay, as an important reasons to stay at or leave a company. Shops that show appreciation for hard work and offer tool allowances, flexible schedules, and career training are more likely to retain and recruit new talent. Also, shops that offer training on alternative powertrains will set their teams up for long-term success meeting the industry shift towards low or zero emissions.

Why consider a full-service truck lease?

Many companies have adopted full-service truck leases rather than maintaining fleets. Leasing is 10% to 15% more cost-efficient than traditional ownership. Also known as a comprehensive or all-inclusive truck lease, this arrangement includes commercial truck use and services such as maintenance and repairs. There are many benefits to this type of full service lease:

  • Cost savings: Leasing provides substantial savings over purchasing. A monthly payment on a $150,000 truck, financed at 7% interest for seven years, comes to approximately $2,300, which brings the total purchase price to $190,000. A leasing arrangement can cut that expense by up to 50%, with no interest or long-term commitment
  • Tax savings: You can deduct your monthly payment and also mileage from your taxes, with only depreciation being nondeductible
  • Maintenance packages: Lessors also often provide several maintenance package options, which typically cover routine service, upkeep, and repairs. Ryder offers three levels: preventive, full-service, and on-demand, plus a network of over 5,000 certified technicians in more than 800 U.S. shops. Ryder offers 24/7 on-call support for breakdowns and other emergencies
  • Additional benefits: Leasing agreements also often include insurance, access to rental vehicles, customization, and flexible terms and pricing. With the leasing company’s economy of scale, they can source replacement parts at the lowest prices.

These are several compelling reasons why thousands of customers annually choose Ryder for full-service truck leases instead of private fleet ownership. With Ryder, you get:

  • Priority access to new vehicles from top truck manufacturers as they become available
  • Your choice of vehicles: vans, refrigerated vehicles, light- and heavy-duty trucks, tractors, and trailers.
  • Limited-time lease offers: Over 50,000 companies trust Ryder for commercial fleet management.

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