Skip to Content
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Log In
Air Quality

Environmental Group Offers Congress a Map to Cleaner Freight

The federal government can reap significant pollution-reduction
benefits by focusing on a national freight plan that replaces older
diesel equipment with newer, cleaner-burning train cars while building
out regional networks more efficiently, the Environmental Defense Fund
(EDF) said yesterday in a new report [PDF].

chicago.jpgFreight rail in Chicago, home of the stimulus-funded CREATE freight project. (Photo: NSTPRSC)

EDF report, aimed at lawmakers crafting the nation's next long-term
transportation bill, uses freight's growing share of U.S. carbon
emissions as a jumping-off point to call for broad reforms.

currently accounts for 25 percent of the transport sector's annual
greenhouse gas production, according to EDF, but the government has
reported that freight's share of total emissions is growing twice as
fast as that of passenger transport -- thanks principally to the rise
of truck freight movement.

One of the report's first examples of local freight reform is the CREATE project, a federally funded
effort to better align freight and passenger train movement in the
Chicago area. But the EDF's policy agenda is not limited to rail;
efforts to retrofit and clean up diesel vehicles, such as California's Carl Moyer program, get their due.

more auto-centric recommendations from EDF are increased use of
tolling, which the group believes could be a tool for reducing
emissions, and electrifying truck stops. How do idling truckers
contribute to freight's greenhouse gas production? From the report:

mandated safety rest periods for truck drivers often lead to idling to
maintain heating, air­conditioning and other cab comforts. The average
sleeper cab tractor idles for 1,500 to 3,000 hours per year, consuming
an average of one gallon of diesel per hour. With each gallon of
conventional diesel emitting 22 pounds of carbon dioxide, EPA estimates
that long­duration idling generates more than 11 million tons of carbon
dioxide annually. Truck stop electrification eliminates this idling and fuel
consumption by allowing truck drivers to connect to an electric power
system. Truck stop electrification provides truckers with the same
creature comforts and work needs, but keeps the surrounding air and cab
free of toxic pollution and greenhouse gases.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Los Angeles

Metro and Caltrans Expect to Complete Torrance 405 Freeway Widening Project Next Month

Metro and Caltrans are adding nearly two miles of new auxiliary freeway lanes, a new on-ramp, and widening adjacent streets including Crenshaw Boulevard and 182nd Street

July 19, 2024

Strategizing About Reduced Funding in the Active Transportation Program

Funding for Cycle 7 of the Active Transportation Program is less than $200 million, and already there have been requests for fifteen times the amount of available funding

July 18, 2024

Eyes on the Street: Hollywood Boulevard Bike Lanes are Open

The Hollywood bike lanes project, already very much in use, is also already being criticized by commenters at Nextdoor and other social media

July 17, 2024
See all posts