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Trucking Carbon Accounting System Flawed

The trucking industry must participate in the standardization of carbon accounting, according to a report in Truckinfo, citing a study by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI).

According to the report, many operators depend on the U.S. EPA SmartWay Partnership Truck Model when accounting for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This model calculates emissions generated from a company’s on-road vehicle fleet. However, an individual company’s carbon footprint encompasses more than just its on-road vehicle fleet.

The report cited other sources of GHG emissions for trucking companies as including on-site equipment, office space, air-conditioning and refrigeration systems. According to a report by Fleet Owner, variations in accounting measures for these different kinds of sources will cause increasingly divergent results unless nuances of geography and emissions type are taken into account. The amount of biodiesel used to power trucking fleets, for example, can cause significant differences in GHG emissions, and GHG emissions from purchased electricity can vary significantly throughout the country.

Meanwhile, using advanced diesel engines in tractor-trailers could lower their fuel consumption by up to 20 percent by 2020, and improved aerodynamics could deliver an 11 percent reduction in fuel use. The ATRI is also collecting data about fleets that use truck speed limiters as trucking companies are facing increasing pressure from manufacturers that are looking for more sustainable solutions from their supply chain.

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