|Reductions in CO2 emissions achievable by lowering the speed limit to 65 mph. Click to enlarge.|
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) launched a program of six initiatives to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Fully implemented, they can reduce fuel consumption by 86 billion gallons and CO2 emissions by 900 million tons for all medium-and heavy-duty trucks over the next 10 years, according to ATA President and CEO Bill Graves.
The six key recommendations to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 are displayed on a new website, www.trucksdeliver.org, and include:
Setting governors on new trucks to limit speeds to no more than 68 mph and reduce the national speed limit to 65 mph for all vehicles. A truck traveling at 75 mph consumes 27% more fuel than one going at 65 mph, according to the ATA. Bringing speed limits down to 65 mph would save 2.8 billion gallons of diesel fuel for trucks in a decade and reduce CO2 emissions by 31.5 million tons—equal to a year’s CO2 generated by 9 million Americans, or the total population of the State of Connecticut. Automobile consumption of gasoline would drop by 8.7 billion gallons, with an accompanying drop in CO2 emissions of 84.7 million tons.
Reduce engine idling. The ATA recommends pursuing a federal solution that reduces non-discretionary idling—i.e., idling when stuck in traffic—through highway infrastructure improvements and reduces discretionary idling through incentives for new technology.These types of idling annually consume an estimated 1.1 billion gallons of diesel fuel. Options currently available to fleets to minimize discretionary idling have the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by an estimated 61.1 million tons over the next ten years—the equivalent of 16 million Americans not driving for a year.
Increase fuel efficiency by encouraging participation in the US EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership Program.
Reduce congestion by improving highways, if necessary by raising the fuels tax. The ATA has recommended a 20-year program, focused initially on fixing critical bottlenecks. Longer-range ideas include creating truck-only corridors which would permit carriers to further increase the use of more productive vehicles. If congestion in all 437 urban areas were eliminated, the reduction in truck CO2 emissions would be 45.2 million tons over ten years—equal to the annual output of a population the size of the State of Colorado.
Top truck congestion bottlenecks. Click to enlarge.
Use more productive truck combinations. Permitting truck combinations to be more productive will help reduce the number of trucks needed on the road. Research shows that increased volumes of freight can be moved with less fuel and fewer emissions by using a smaller number of large trucks rather than a larger number of small trucks. A reduction of 294.7 million tons of CO2 could be achieved with these changes.
Support national fuel economy standards for trucks. The American Trucking Associations supports setting technologically feasible national fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks that reduce fuel consumption if they do not compromise the performance of the vehicles.
Schneider National, Inc., the US’ largest truckload carrier, announced its plans to operate the most energy-efficient fleet in the industry at the news conference unveiling the ATA strategies.
Schneider will expand its fuel conservation efforts starting immediately when it voluntarily slows down its fleet to 60 mph. The effort will reduce the fleet’s consumption of diesel fuel by more than 3.75 million gallons per year and reduce truck CO2 emissions by 83.25 million pounds per year—the equivalent of taking 7,259 cars off the nation’s highways.
Chris Lofgren, president and CEO of Schneider National, challenged carriers large and small, drivers and the motoring public to do their parts to conserve and protect the nation’s valuable natural resources.
We encourage others in our industry to do more. Examine your operations closely. What more can you do? What more can the industry do? Let’s roll up our sleeves, carriers and drivers together, and set an example that other companies, drivers and the motoring public will be inspired to follow. I encourage everyone to look into their operations and meet the voluntary environmental challenges by committing to the EPA’s SmartWay program.—Chris Lofgren