From major trucking companies to small independent shippers, operators in the freight industry are taking steps to reduce their emissions. The transportation industry as a whole accounts for 28% of emissions in the United States, with trucks making up 23% of that.
But the global automotive industry has been shifting towards eco-friendly solutions for years, and that movement is finding its way to trucking. The industry has made tremendous strides at lowering its environmental impact and is not slowing down. Let’s take a look at what we’ve seen accomplished so far.
Optimized Route Planning
A greater emphasis on hyper-efficient route planning has been a resounding trend in the transportation and logistics industry. By not planning routes, each shipment can lead to higher fuel consumption in several ways. But it’s not just about planning to take the shortest route.
Events like traffic and adverse weather can slow down any truck. Drivers stuck in traffic or forced to drive in lower gears because of rain or snow will use more fuel. Artificial intelligence (AI) systems are now utilized to predict weather and traffic to avoid these situations.
And since the route that was the best one time won’t necessarily be the best route the next time, these AI systems continually learn and gather data. They indicate best routes using sophisticated pattern tracking technology.
Reducing Empty Miles
The latest statistics indicate that empty miles accounted for about 17% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. By ensuring that truckloads are full and minimizing empty miles, greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced in one of the simplest ways.
Since full truckloads (FTL) are also the most cost-effective for customers, it’s a win-win scenario to also be able to dramatically help the environment. This is where there’s great benefit to working with a trusted carrier service to reap these benefits.
Many businesses are trying to move away from fossil fuel powered vehicles altogether or at least find ways to hybridize trucks. Since most trucks use diesel gasoline to power their trucks, opting for biodiesel has helped companies reduce their environmental impact.
The next step that has developed over the past few years involves a shift toward electric vehicles. With the use of batteries, hydrogen fuel cells, and renewable natural gas, alternative fuel vehicle technology is becoming more accessible to the freight industry.
While changing how the trucks operate is important, changing the actual trucks themselves also plays a role in a more environmentally-friendly future in trucking. Putting greater emphasis on the aerodynamics of a truck means it will experience less drag and thereby be more efficient.
Traditionally, the typical freight truck is not very aerodynamic. Studies have shown that there’s an aerodynamic loss in key design areas. Manufacturers have seen a lot of success with redesigned tractors, shorter gaps between truck and trailer, and improved bumper shapes that have all positively impacted aerodynamics.
All of these changes, while great for the environment, they’re also showing a positive impact on the industry itself. By implementing changes like these, the carbon footprint of trucking is reduced, and improved delivery times result from the added efficiency. As we look ahead, there should only be more ways that the transportation industry can take a leading role in creating a more sustainable future.