News Posts

Holiday Traffic: Counting Cars, Trucks, and Climate Change

    Today and for many years to come, the newest generation of advanced diesel is moving that truck down the road to its destination, delivering everything you and our economy demands as well as progress on reducing emissions with every mile

    The American Automobile Association expected more Americans to drive to their destinations this past holiday weekend than ever before. It sure seemed that way to me. I found traffic on major interstates heavy, and at points it felt like a seemingly endless line just inching along. 

    A popular car game to pass the time is counting big rigs and maybe hoping for a horn blast when passing. In the miles of traffic this past weekend were dozens of tractor trailers, and chances are good that nearly all of them were powered by diesel. There’s also a good chance that more than half of those tractor trailers were the newest generation of advanced diesel technology, equipped with the most advanced emissions control technology possible including particulate filters and selective catalytic reduction that achieve near-zero emissions.

    When traffic is backed up, it doesn’t take long to start comparing your ride to everyone else’s around you. Electric cars are more commonplace, as are gasoline hybrids. How do these stack up to an 18-wheeler beside you? Comparing the emissions and climate impact of a 3,000-pound car to an 80,000-pound tractor trailer is almost impossible. One is hauling a handful of people and their luggage on a 300-mile weekend getaway while the other is hauling 25,000 pounds of cargo 2,500 miles cross-country.

    One useful comparison is that the newest advanced diesel trucks on the road are more fuel efficient and reducing emissions with every mile compared to previous generations. On the road since 2007, the trucks’ reduced emissions are equivalent to removing 43 million passenger cars from the road for a year – which is equal to 202 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. Getting that many cars off the road sure would have made for a faster trip!

    HD CO2 reductions infographic

    But solving the climate challenge is an “all hands-on deck” activity. Like cars, at some point in the future some of those tractor trailers might be powered by electricity or even hydrogen. Today and for many years to come, the newest generation of advanced diesel is moving that truck down the road to its destination, delivering everything you and our economy demands as well as progress on reducing emissions with every mile.

    Share |