Earth Day & the Freight Industry: The Green Impact We've Made in Just a Few Decades

Posted by Fernando Correa ● May 3, 2019 11:43:38 AM

Earth Day

April 22 is the official date of Earth Day each year. However, these days, “EVERY DAY is EARTH DAY” in the freight industry. As we celebrate the 49th “official” Earth Day, let’s take a moment to reflect on some of the accomplishments our industry has made with our green impact efforts during the past several decades.

Reduced Air Pollution with Cleaner Fleets

The amount of air pollution produced from big trucks and diesel-fueled engines has always been a concern. Today, our heavy-duty trucks are 99 percent cleaner than the trucks built in 1970 when it comes to causing air pollution. Common pollutants like carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and particulate emissions have been greatly reduced.

Increased Fuel Efficiency

Back in 1970, the average mile per gallon for heavy-duty trucks was a mere 5.5 mpg. That average rose to 6.4 mpg by 2010. But a recent study sponsored by the NACFE used seven different commercial rigs with varying specs that were driven by experienced drivers. Researchers found that the lowest average for all was 8.8 mpg. Overall, the trucks averaged 10.1 mpg, with one having a 12.8 mpg and three others having days where they reached an average fuel efficiency over 12.5 mpg. The lowest mpg recorded during the approximate 3-month study was one truck that clocked 7.1 mpg one day during the study.

Introduction of Electric Trucks

The complete answer to eliminating truck emissions is the completely electric semi. Tesla and Thor are building these trucks. Meanwhile, Volvo has developed electric truck battery technology that it plans to share across its brands, including Mack Trucks in the United States.

What Can You Do to Make a Difference?

Overall, the green impact made by the freight industry is impressive. But it is no time to rest on our laurels and think our job is done. There is still more work to be done, especially with the EPA and the state of California giving the trucking industry until 2021 to make improvements and comply with their new set of standards.

As a carrier or independent owner trucker, you can do your part by reducing your impact on the environment by:

  • Slowing down. By reducing your speed by just five miles an hour you can help greatly reduce emissions that pollute the air and add to the amount of greenhouse gases that are linked to issues with climate change. A bonus is that slower speeds improve your safety and that of other drivers on the road.
  • Improving your driving skills. Skills like progressive shift and longer stops and starts can help improve the fuel economy of your rig. You could cut your fuel consumption by up to 10 percent.
  • Reducing your break-time use of your diesel engine. If you have been depending on your diesel engine to warm and cool your cabin during your off hours, you are wasting fuel and polluting the environment. Whenever possible, take advantage of new electrification technology that may be available at truck stops
  • Make simple equipment swaps. You can improve the fuel efficiency of your rig by making a few simple changes to make it more aerodynamic. Installing aerodynamic panels or air foils can reduce air resistance and reduce your fuel consumption.

Stay tuned to the Cargoblog for the latest news in technology and new ways to reduce your rig’s impact on the environment.

Cargobot Carriers

Topics: Trucking industry