Costs of E-Logs Decrease in Advance of ELD Mandate

Manufacturers of electronic logging devices (ELDs) say the upcoming mandate requiring carriers and drivers to use the devices will cost the industry far less than the $2.4 billion the government estimated in 2011.

According to a report by Transport Topics, ELD makers say that increased supply of more ELDs — including some that require no upfront costs— means the price tag for fleets to comply has fallen markedly.

“The cost of hardware has come down tremendously,” said Amy Krouse, spokeswoman for Rand McNally, based in Skokie, Ill. “A lot of the newer devices are self-installed … Nearly every aspect of the proposition has come down pretty substantially.”

Some critics have claimed that ELDs will be too expensive for owner-operators or small fleets to comply, but prices have plummeted in the last two years. In some cases a basic ELD program can cost less than an average  cellphone plan.

The ELD market has dramatically changed, said Nick Reed, general manager at uDrove, which started selling ELDs last year. He says there are more basic options available.

“We’re seeing more competitive pricing as more companies pop up,” he said.

Such standalone ELD devices are much less expensive that a full fleet management system that also offer routing, dispatch, fuel optimization and other features. For about $300, drivers can log hours by pairing with a smart phone or tablet.
Other programs offer no upfront costs. An ELD application can be had on smart phones or tablet for a modest monthly fee.
“As the market continues to evolve, and the mandate comes down, there will be continuous price pressure,” said Christian Schenk, XRS’s senior vice president of product strategy.

The Federal Motor Carrier Administration expects to unveil its final proposal in November. The agency plans to review comments on the proposal for at least a year before finalizing the mandate final. It will then give the industry up to two years to comply, likely putting the effective date no earlier than late 2016.