How Truck Fleets Are Reducing Their Carbon Emissions
Trucks play an indispensable part in the modern supply chain. They deliver our packages, ship our food and transport other essential resources. Without these vehicles, society would struggle to sustain itself.
That said, the adverse effect of trucking is well documented. The carbon emissions from transportation have made a massive impact on the environment. With that in mind, is there a middle ground?
General Truck Emissions
The transportation sector generates the largest share of greenhouse gases in the US. They account for 28% of total emissions and trucks contribute about one-fourth of the pollution. As society's demand for shipped goods rises, atmospheric air pollution increases.
In total, trucks emit 444 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in the U.S. annually. The vast quantity of air pollution generated by large vehicles contributes to various adverse environmental effects. When carbon dioxide invades the atmosphere, it increases heat production, raising the global temperature over time.
Trucks also pollute the environment with sulfur and nitrogen dioxide. As evaporation occurs, these elements combine with rainwater, showering onto crops, forests, buildings, and the ocean. The solution destroys crops, interferes with aquatic life, and harms human health.
Vehicle oil and fuel spills also seep into the soil, rivers, and the ocean. Over time, the substance makes its way into our water supply and food, generating adverse human impacts.
Diesel fuel emits high counts of particulate matter, creating airborne soot and metal particles. When society encounters this air pollutant, they may experience skin and eye irritation. It also invades deep regions of the lungs, causing severe respiratory problems.
Carbon Reduction Methods
As environmental science advances, our sustainable carbon solutions expand. We pass electric vehicles on the street and install solar panels on our rooftops. Environmental engineers are now building eco-friendly trucks, reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.
Most car companies have developed, or are currently developing, electric vehicles. They reduce transportation emissions and eliminate fuel costs. Various companies are working on developing electric truck fleets.
In short, electric trucks can significantly shrink a company’s carbon footprint and help them save money. To start, an EV’s operating cost is typically lower than that of a traditional engine. They offer the most sustainable form of transportation when charged with renewable energy.
Tesla, Ford, and even Hummer developed electric pickup trucks, so it’s only a matter of time before their commercial versions hit the market. Until then, companies relying on truck fleets can help develop accessible charging stations across the nation.
As for the residents of that nation, there are always steps you can take to lower your footprint. Whether it’s installing solar panels on your home, or something smaller like forgoing plastic bags at the grocery store, every small action compounds into something larger.
When truck fleet managers fail to maintain their vehicles, they risk a reduction in fuel efficiency. Telematics allows professionals to track all vehicle updates and necessary maintenance all in one place. The technology monitors the hours a vehicle runs and engine diagnostics.
Telematics informs managers when it’s time to replace air filters. This slight improvement can enhance a truck’s mileage by 10%, protecting the engine. It also provides information about the grade of motor oil needed in each vehicle.
Using the incorrect motor oil can reduce a truck’s efficiency by 2%, causing higher greenhouse gas emissions. The technology helps drivers identify when tire pressure drops or the wheels lose alignment. Properly inflated and aligned tires can improve gas mileage by 3.3%.
Regular tune-ups can also advance your fleet's fuel efficiency, shrinking its carbon footprint and reducing the cost of fuel. Engine maintenance can reduce problems caused by worn spark plugs, transmission problems, and dragging brakes. Telematics technology will inform managers of upcoming tune-up requirements.
Another sustainable truck enhancement involves alternative fuel use. Environmental scientists developed eco-friendly fuel options that reduce or eliminate carbon emissions. Gas generated from biomass alleviates the demand for petroleum and shrinks the footprint of the transportation sector.
Ethanol is a fueling option for eco-friendly trucks. The substance consists of sugarcane and corn. Biodiesel utilizes palm oil, soy, and rapeseed. Companies gather excess food waste and compose alternative fuel options, increasing their sustainability.
Other businesses generate biofuel from non-food feedstock. They utilize algae, grass, wood chips, and municipal waste to repurpose various used materials.
Efficient Driving Habits
Fleet managers are training their drivers in efficiency, providing fuel-saving driving techniques. They teach the workers to drive defensively and not aggressively. Aggressive drivers that accelerate and brake rapidly use between 15% and 30% more fuel on the highway.
Driving the speed limit may also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Every vehicle has a different efficiency at various speeds, and accelerating to over 50 miles per hour can increase fuel loss. Each 5 mph drivers travel over 50 mph adds $0.21 to the cost of gas per gallon.
The truck drivers also learn idle avoidance. Rather than wasting gas when stopped, workers can turn off their engines. They can additionally utilize cruise control when driving to maintain a consistent speed, taking stress off the vehicle.
Global Positioning System Improvements
Truck fleet owners are implementing improved global positioning systems (GPS) in each vehicle. They provide faster routes with fewer stops, reducing carbon emissions by 30% each trip. Dispatchers may access this information and inform drivers of efficiency interference, providing better courses for their trips.
The technology also reduces idling. Avoiding heavy traffic and stoplights can save a company $1,500 a year on each truck. Depending on the number of vehicles a company has, this number can quickly increase.
As vehicles age, they decrease in efficiency. Former President Obama identified this as a significant environmental concern, increasing truck regulations. Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to hold each truck to an efficiency standard.
Over the past decade, manufacturing companies released more efficient vehicles, reducing air pollution and fuel costs. Eco-friendly companies are ditching their outdated trucks and upgrading to fuel-efficient vehicles. As electric truck fleets meet the market, we can expect to see many businesses dumping their old trucks for the eco-friendly version.
On the Horizon
Over the past few years, electric charging stations grew in numbers. There are also more electric vehicles on the road than ever before. We can expect to see electric and automation technology take over the delivery sector. Though Jeff Bezos claims drones will be the new delivery method, we can expect trucks to remain prevalent in their industry for a long while to come.
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