Improving the efficiency of road-freight transport is ‘crucial’ for efforts to tackle air pollution, a report published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) today (3 July) has claimed.
The report ‘The Future of Trucks: Implications for energy and the environment’ claims that trucks are a major contributor to the growth in transport-fuel consumption, as well as rising carbon dioxide and air pollutant emissions.
However, IEA has claimed that the freight sector gets ‘far less’ attention and policy focus than passenger vehicles.
Commenting on the report, IEA executive director Dr Fatih Birol, said: “For far too long there has been a lack of policy focus on truck fuel efficiency. Given they are now the dominant driver of global oil demand, the issue can no longer be ignored if we are to meet our energy and environmental objectives. Our study highlights the gains that are possible from tighter truck fuel efficiency standards and sets out other cost-effective steps to modernise freight transport.”
Within the report, highlights three areas for improvement within the freight sector.
This includes improving logistics and systems operations in order to be more efficient. Examples include near-term opportunities like using Global Positioning System to optimise truck routing, as well as real-time feedback devices that monitor the on-road fuel economy of trucks.
IEA also claims that energy-efficiency improvements for the existing fleet should include aerodynamic retrofits to reduce drag as well as low-rolling resistance tires. New trucks can use additional technologies that cut idling, use lightweight materials and take advantage of improvements to truck engines, transmissions and drivetrains, the organisation claims.
Achieving stronger cuts in fuel use, carbon dioxide and pollutant emissions requires the use of hybrids and zero emission trucks, it adds.
Finally, IEA suggests that using alternative fuels such as natural gas, biofuels, electricity and hydrogen can diversify fuel supply away from oil and also help reduce carbon emissions, especially if produced from low-carbon pathways.
Efforts to tackle emissions from the UK’s freight sector were highlighted at the LowCVP Conference ‘Cities in Motion: Tackling the Climate and Pollution Challenge’ in London last week (see airqualitynews.com story).
During the conference, Vicky Edmonds, deputy director for environmental strategy at the Department for Transport (DfT) told delegates that the government is looking at how it can work with the commercial sector to reduce vehicle emissions.