Trucks Gone Green?


This image comes courtesy of TrucksDeliver.org, not the Onion.

If BP can stand for "Beyond Petroleum," what’s to stop the trucking industry from claiming to "deliver a cleaner tomorrow"? Not much, apparently.

In a story about the current practices of K Street lobbyists, the Washington Post reports that even the American Trucking Associations — a national trade group — is adopting an eco-friendly tone:

Record gasoline prices have done more than boost advertising budgets for worried energy lobbies. They also have turned long-held positions of significant lobbying groups upside down — and decidedly pro-environmental.

The American Trucking Associations last week did a 180 (or pretty close to that) on two key issues. In news releases notable for their use of the color green, the truck company lobby said it would accept a fuel tax increase — once its most hated policy proposal — if the extra revenue went toward reducing highway congestion. It also suggested tougher fuel economy standards for trucks, another shocker for the trucking industry.

Guess the ATA might have to iron out some differences with Truckers and Citizens United, a more grassroots-style group that staged a gas-guzzling, street-clogging "rally" in Washington last month to protest the price of fuel.

To get its green message across, the ATA has launched a campaign called "Trucks Deliver" touting six steps to reduce the industry’s emissions. Their congestion mitigation strategy comes after the jump.

The American Trucking Associations advocates initiatives to improve highway infrastructure and reduce congestion.

Relieving highway congestion is a critically important strategy for reducing carbon emissions. Improving the nation’s highway infrastructure is a long-range challenge, and the American Trucking Associations has recommended a 20-year program, focused initially on fixing critical bottlenecks. 

Longer-range ideas include creating truck-only corridors which would permit carriers to further increase the use of more productive vehicles. The needed infrastructure improvements can be paid for with a dedicated fuel tax if necessary. If congestion in all 437 urban areas were eliminated, the reduction in truck CO2 emissions would be 45.2 million tons over ten years — equal to the annual output of a population the size of the State of Colorado.

Whether the "Trucks Deliver" campaign is an exercise in green-washing, an adaptation to new economic realities, or a sincere effort to reduce the trucking industry’s carbon footprint, one thing is clear: They’d still rather not broach the subject of freight rail.

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