Highways to the future

Ryder, DHL, and other major hauling companies are taking major steps to lower their petroleum fuel usage, opting to purchase fleets of fuel-efficient and alternative-energy trucks

Truck leasing company Ryder has ordered over 200 natural gas powered trucks (in addition to its growing fleet of hybrid trucks) to add to its fleet in Southern California. Ryder trucking company has partnered with the San Bernardino Associated Governments on a project to eliminate annual diesel fuel use by 1.5 million gallons per year. Delivery truck company DHL is adding 80 eclectic drive trucks to its New York fleet while UPS and FedEx are already deploying hybrid trucks across many markets. The United States Postal Service (and other postal services around the globe) are also going green with its fleet purchases.

In February 2011 food prices increased by 3.9%; the largest jump in the United States (U.S.) in thirty six years.  This February the price of some plastics increased by 6-7%, the third price increase in the last six months.  Diesel gas has continued to climb and now nationally averages around $3.60 a gallon, getting as high as $4.00 a gallon in some state markets.

The cost of consumer goods, such as food and items made out of some plastics, is in part directly correlated to the price of gas at the pump.  The U.S. economy depends on trucks.  Nearly 70% of all freight transported annually in the U.S., accounting for $671 billion worth of manufactured and retail goods, is transported by truck alone. When the price of fuel needed to power the trucks increases so does the cost of the items being transported within the truck.

The continuing trend of major trucking companies to move away from petroleum fueled only trucks is not only good for the consumer by lowering shipping costs, it is also good for the environment and for the overall movement and development of alternative fuels. The San Bernardino Associated Governments estimates that their partnership with Ryder will reduce 9.2 million pounds of greenhouse-gas emissions a year, while long haul commercial trucking additionally provides an ideal testing ground for new electric powertrain technologies that can eventually be integrated into the light-duty vehicle market.

Many analysts predict that the federal government will continue to provide tax breaks to companies who purchase electric drive trucks in order to help businesses within the U.S. cut not only greenhouse- gas emissions but also dependency on foreign oil.

Although the problematic methods surrounding extraction, collection, and use of natural gas in the U.S. is vehemently debated, the positive aspects of America’s trucking companies using alternative fuels in their fleets cannot be denied.

Source: Ryder, DHL to Add Total of Almost 300 Alt-Fuel Trucks in Calif., N.Y.

Image Source: latamreflections.blogspot.com

Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelors Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Masters Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being and Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail.

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