Study cites leading role of trucking in energy efficiency

by Canadian Shipper

The trucking industry is leading the way among freight transportation modes when it comes to energy efficiency improvement, according to a new federal government report.

The Natural Resources Canada report, entitled Energy Efficiency Trends in Canada 1990 to 1999, examined energy efficiency trends in various sectors, including freight transportation.

The NRC report showed that heavy trucks are the single largest contributor to a general increase in energy efficiency in the Canadian freight transportation sector. From 1990 to 1999, the heavy truck sector recorded a 45.9-petajoule improvement in fuel efficiency. (A petajoule is the energy produced by a power of one watt flowing for one second times 10 15). By comparison, the freight rail sector recorded a 22.7 petajoule improvement, while the marine industry improved by 1.44 petajoules.

According to NRC, the fuel efficiency improvement attained by the trucking industry has had the equivalent impact of removing 50,000 heavy trucks (13% of the heavy truck population) from the road.

NRC attributes these significant gains in energy efficiency to the industry’s ability to consolidate loads, increase back-haul movements and improve industry practices like maintenance, vehicle specification and driver skills. The report also highlighted how such energy efficiency strategies are key to meeting Canada’s commitment to the Kyoto Accord to reduce greenhouse gas emissions’ targets.

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