We’re always interested in fuel saving and sustainability. So are a lot of members of our trucking and transportation community. Since 2004, a public-private initiative called SmartWay has made a positive impact on dry van trucking.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented the SmartWay program in 2004, a public-private initiative to find new ways to save fuel and reduce the environmental impact of transportation. Improvements in fuel efficiency and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions are the results of voluntary partnerships between the EPA, trucking companies of all sizes, rail carriers, logistics organizations, manufacturers, retailers and other federal and state agencies.
Under the program, thousands of trucking companies voluntarily use specific assessment tools to gauge fuel mileage and track progress on their sustainability goals. They report this progress to SmartWay for verification of gains.
As reported in an issue of Transport Topics, February marked the 10-year anniversary of SmartWay’s inception. The EPA estimates that in the last 10 years, 120.7 million barrels of oil have been saved due to efficiency improvements. They also calculate a reduction of 23.6 million metric tons of CO2, 478,000 tons of NOx, and 22,000 tons of particulate matter–all harmful contributors to air pollution.
February also brought an announcement that the EPA plans to expand the program. The expansion will include more types of trailers, including reefers, and more testing methods, allowing more carriers to have their fuel saving methods verified by the program. Verification is valuable in that it connects truckers to a network of organizations who use environmental performance to choose carriers.
In addition to a verification system for participating transportation companies, SmartWay tests technologies and best practices to decide which are most effective in fuel efficiency and emissions reduction. The standardized methodology offers a way for those in the industry to make educated decisions about where to invest their dollars.
Technologies tested and approved within SmartWay have included trailer skirts and low-rolling resistance tires. SmartWay also contributed fuel- saving methods that became part of the foundation for the federal government’s heavy-truck fuel economy standards.
With the growth of this program, we anticipate even more improvements in the tools and resources available for sustainable trucking.