As the world becomes more vigilant and active about key environmental issues, many industries have renewed commitments to green initiatives.
One group that has been steadily improving the environmental landscape is the commercial transportation industry. The industry has traditionally been thought of as unfriendly to the environment, but new technology has transformed many of today’s trucks and buses into environmentally responsible forms of transportation.
Below is a list of the top five things that the public may not realize about green transportation:
5. American Idle – Do Trucks Really Need to Idle at Truck Stops?
Thousands of commercial trucks transport goods from coast-to-coast and keep our nation’s economy going. And when it’s time to stop for a rest, the trucks can’t always be turned off. While parked at truck stops, drivers eat and sleep in their truck cabs and need power to run air conditioning, heaters, microwaves, radios, TVs and even computers (to work on their business). The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that, each year, trucks use 10 percent of diesel fuel idling – costing nearly $10 billion annually and emitting countless amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
The good news is that new technology provides trucks the necessary in-cab power without needing engines to idle. A MaxxPowerTM auxiliary power unit (APU) from Navistar provides truck drivers with a best-in-class power system that can save each truck more than $7,000 in fuel costs each year because the trucks will not need to idle to produce power. No idling means less diesel fuel used. The APU can produce the power many trucks rely on while using only two-tenths of a gallon per hour.
- Environmental product: Auxiliary Power Unit
- Fuel savings: 1,920 gallons(1) annually per truck
- Financial savings: $7,600(1) annually per truck
- Environmental advantage: Significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions (in idle mode), reduced fuel use
- ((1) Savings based on 2,400 hours idle time/year; 0.8 gallon/hour savings; national average diesel price of $3.97 on 3/17/08)
4. Are Semi-Trucks Fuel-Guzzlers?
It requires a substantial amount of fuel for trucks to haul goods across the country. And because semi-trucks operate most of the journey at highway speeds, air resistance is a major inhibitor to fuel economy. Not all trucks are fuel-guzzlers, though. New advances in truck design allow for more aerodynamic, fuel-efficient travel. The International® ProStarTM is the most fuel efficient semi-truck on the road today, achieving a fuel savings of more than $5,000 per truck. The fuel savings is based on traveling 144,000 miles annually and when compared to a leading competitor. It results in a whopping 1,300 gallons of fuel saved each year – per truck. The ProStar and the new International LoneStar both feature aerodynamic designs that make a big difference both in reducing diesel fuel consumption as well as lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
ProStar is designated an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SmartWay™ solution. If 30 percent of new trucks sold were SmartWay tractor-trailer combinations, the EPA estimates that more than a million barrels of oil would be saved a year – reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 1.2 million tons.
The new SmartWay combination tractor-trailer meets EPA’s health-based 2007 air pollution standards for heavy-duty diesel engines, achieving significant reductions in NOx, particulate matter and other air pollutants.
Along with idle management products such as the MaxxPower APU and cleaner diesel engines, today’s semi-trucks are more environmentally responsible than ever before.
- Environmental product: Aerodynamic semi-trucks
- Fuel savings: More than 1,300 gallons annually per truck (ProStar)
- Financial savings: More than $5,000 annually per truck (ProStar)
- Environmental advantage: Reduced fuel use, reduced greenhouse gas emissions
3. We Have Hybrid Cars, Why Not Hybrid Trucks?
Hybrid trucks actually are in production today. In fact, Navistar is the first company to enter full assembly line production of hybrid commercial trucks. To date, the company has built more that 100 hybrid trucks that are in service by more than a dozen major utility companies, including Florida Power & Light, Exelon and American Electric Power.
The International DuraStarTM Hybrid can provide dramatic fuel savings of 30 to 40 percent in many applications. Fuel efficiency can increase to more than 60 percent in utility-type applications. Diesel emissions are completely eliminated when the hybrid truck operates equipment (such as overhead utility booms) solely on the truck’s battery power, instead of allowing the engine to idle.
Navistar also partnered with the EPA, the U.S. Army, UPS and Eaton Corporation to develop the first-ever series of diesel hydraulic hybrid urban delivery vehicles. Last year, Navistar received the 2007 Blue Sky Award from WestStart-CALSTART, the nation’s leading advanced transportation technology organization, for its contributions to the commercial development of diesel hybrid technology.
- Environmental product: Hybrid trucks
- Fuel savings: Nearly 1,000 gallons annually per truck
- Financial savings: Nearly $4,000 per truck annually (The Energy Policy Act of 2005 also provides tax credits for hybrid commercial trucks of up to $12,000 per unit)
- Environmental advantage: Lowered fuel use, elimination of greenhouse gas emissions (in idle mode)
2. School Buses Are Yellow, But Can They Be Green?
The school bus industry is getting better grades for its environmental responsibility. The next generation of school bus is much greener than the school bus in years past. With clean diesel technology, today’s engines are more fuel efficient and emit significantly less pollutants. Plus, each school bus can take approximately 30 to 60 cars off of the road during peak rush hour times. If every parent drove their kids to and from school, the traffic congestion, pollution and fuel use would not have a positive impact on the environment.
Now, the leading school bus manufacturer, IC Bus, is producing the nation’s only line of hybrid school buses. These hybrid school buses improve fuel efficiency by up to 70 percent and also reduce diesel emissions by up to 70 percent. The school buses are “plugged in” at night, charging the electric motor that is part of the hybrid system. The electric motor and the diesel engine work effectively together during operation of the school bus, resulting in the lower emissions and increased fuel efficiency.
- Environmental product: Hybrid school buses
- Fuel savings: 800 gallons annually per bus
- Financial savings: $3,000 annually per bus
- Environmental advantage: Lowered fuel use, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, fewer cars on the road
1. Aren’t Diesel Engines Smoky and Noisy?
Diesel engines are no longer the smoky, noisy polluters that many people remember from earlier eras. Today’s diesel engines meet strict EPA emissions requirements. With diesel fuel, drivers can get 40 percent more miles to the gallon than gasoline. Plus, diesel engines burn cleaner due to reformulated diesel fuel introduced in 2007 called Ultra Low-Sulfur Diesel.
In 2007, new diesel engines were introduced that eliminate more than 90 percent of particulate and hydrocarbon emissions, leaving the exhaust smokeless, odorless and much cleaner for the environment. In 2010, diesel engines will be even cleaner, with aggressive “near-zero” emissions goals.
Navistar’s new MaxxForceTM mid-range diesel engines are 9-13 percent more fuel efficient. In fact, MaxxForce 7 and MaxxForce DT engines include a fuel efficiency guarantee. If customers don’t experience improvement in fuel economy over their previous engines, they are eligible to be refunded the difference (up to $1,000).
- Environmental product: Green diesel engines
- Fuel savings: 9-13 percent (for MaxxForce 7 and MaxxForce DT engines)
- Financial savings: Variable, based on actual truck use
- Environmental advantage: Lowered fuel use, reduced greenhouse gas emissions