Trucking Technologies : Continuing to Improve to Meet Climate Change Deadlines
As the UN’s 2030 Climate Change deadline nears, countries continue to struggle in cutting down gas emissions by at least half to achieve net zero effect by 2050. Today, about 70 percent of goods shipped are by way of cargo trucks, prompting manufacturers to continue looking for alternatives to offer as solutions in protecting the environment. After all, any other means of transporting goods is either costly, or has limits, making them less effective for fast and efficient deliveries.
Currently, there are around 15.5 million commercial trucks plying the US roads alone, two million of which include heavy duty towing trucks and tractor trailers. All of them have massive environmental impact in terms of CO2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
How Truck Technology Improved in Past Decades
Not many are aware that in the past decades, strict federal emissions standards and technological innovations in truck designs and truck engines, had already brought down huge amounts of emissions. Even the behavioral logistics of those in the trucking industry have also changed.
According to the Environmental Defense Fund, emissions today are way much lower than the emissions 20 years ago. It said that it would take about 70 of the modern trucks to generate the same amount of emissions produced by a single truck built in 2002. In between those periods, technological improvements in reducing truck-produced pollutants were mainly focused on creating sophisticated driver controls, cleaner exhausts and clean engines. Truck manufacturers had of course complained because they equated to additional costs that ate away profits.
Yet as ecommerce becomes mainstream and the demand for trucking services has increased, cleaner emissions are not enough to bring down the levels of pollution by half in 2030; nor to eventually achieve zero net effect by the year 2050.
Truck Tech Innovators Focus on Fuel Economy Instead of Emissions Reduction
Truck tech innovators shifted their focus on a simple solution to help the trucking industry reduce gas emissions: improved fuel economy.
Improvements to cut down fuel usage presented direct cost savings, whilst reducing GHG and CO2 emissions. Players in the trucking industry welcomed the recommendation since reduced costs simply means less overhead expenses that reduce their gross profits.
Innovations to improve fuel usage include approaches as simple as tweaking a truck’s aerodynamics. Early truck mods to improve fuel economy were as straightforward as adjustments in tire technology. Another is the installation of skirts to the underside of a trailer as means to reduce wind resistance.
Other examples of after-sales, truck modifications that improve fuel efficiency:
Cold Air Intake System – This truck mod works on the principle that improving the quality of air entering the truck engine will improve engine performance by sending in more oxygen. The latter equates to stronger power that can improve engine performance without compromising mileage as it can save fuel on a per gallon basis.
Performance Tuner – Adding this mod allows customization of the truck’s electronic control unit (ECU) to deal with fuel mixture and in handling ignition timing. Although it necessitates the need to establish a fuel mixture balance, using the right formula has been proven effective in achieving major reductions in fuel consumption.