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Is the Trucking Industry Becoming More Environmentally Friendly?

Published on January 1, 2015 by in Blog, CATI

Forwarder or truck driver in drivers cap

There are approximately 650,000 heavy-duty freight trucks registered in Canada, making trucking a $37 billion industry. That being said, it is also an industry that has the capability to produce a lot of waste – sometimes in one day a single freight truck can produce as much emission as 150 cars! Despite the reputation of trucking being harsh on the environment, there are many current initiatives to make transportation a greener industry, thanks to the collaboration of designers, green engineers and graduates of auto mechanic colleges.

Companies at the Forefront of the Green Movement

UPS is one of the top delivery companies in North America, collectively travelling three million miles a week and delivering 16.3 million packages a day. Of course, this amount of driving is bound to create pollution, which is why UPS has pushed using alternative fuel sources such as propane, electric motors and liquefied natural gas. UPS is also currently experimenting with how tires affect fuel economy. Tires that aren’t properly inflated won’t get proper tread, leading to poor fuel economy. For this reason, UPS has switched to low rolling resistance tires, which generate more rolling resistance than tires which easily become worn and flat.

Another giant in product transportation is Walmart, a company which has actually designed their own truck with special fuel efficient features. The concept vehicle, called the “Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience,” is made from light carbon fibre, allowing for 4,000 extra pounds of cargo to be transported.  The vehicle is also more aerodynamic, totes energy-efficient LED lights and an electronic dashboard with performance data.

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Methods of Improving Fuel Economy

Despite the efforts UPS and Walmart are making at improving fuel economy for their fleets, there are thousands of other companies in the country that simply don’t have the budget for such widespread changes. Students in auto training school might be wondering what they can do to help make heavy duty transport vehicles more environmentally friendly. Canada has answered this call, and is doing its part to implement more fuel economy initiatives for trucking. Here are a few examples of Canadian trucking initiatives:

  • Changing a standard engine to electric has shown to improve fuel efficiency by 4 L/100 km
  • Some trucks have begun using diesel-electric hybrid trucks, which use 30 per cent less fuel than traditional diesel-powered trucks
  • Like Walmart’s new truck, more aerodynamic vehicle designs with performance displays on the dash have been shown to significantly improve fuel efficiency
  • Idling rates in the winter are a large cause of wasted fuel, which is why many trucks have added heaters to the ca
  • Driver incentive programs, with rewards for drivers with the best fuel economy, have proven to be very effective in implementing good driver habits
  • Anyone in automotive mechanics school will tell you that the speed of a truck does not increase its fuel efficiency. For most cars, gas mileage decreases after the vehicle hits a certain speed – and the same goes for trucks

Have you heard of any additional initiatives to improve fuel economy for transport trucks?

 
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