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The Great Climate Change Debate: Addressing the Carbon Footprint of Transportation

Data Blocks
Data Blocks

One common villain in the carbon emissions debate is transportation. There’s no doubt transportation is important to our society. Cars, trucks, buses and heavy machinery are all essential assets to support human activity and the global economy. 

The fact that these vehicles pump toxic carbon dioxide into the Earth’s atmosphere and contribute the largest share of greenhouse gasses tied to global warming is concerning to many. Highway transportation represents nearly a quarter of all carbon emissions produced by fuel combustion. The others include:

• Electricity and heat – 42%

• Industry – 19%

• Residential – 6%

• Services – 3%

• Other - 7%

And transportation’s share of carbon emissions is only increasing. Since 1990, carbon emissions from transportation have increased by 75 percent, as of 2015. That’s the equivalent of 1.2 billion new passenger cars on the road of 13.5 billion barrels of oil burned. 

Electricity’s contribution, however, has been on a decline for decades as more environmentally friendly options, such as solar and wind power, gain support and decrease in cost. 

Addressing Carbon Emissions: What Can Transportation Companies Do

While all this seems grim, especially considering the economic drivers behind the transportation industry and how reliant we are upon it as a society, that doesn’t mean fighting climate change is hopeless. 

Here are a few tips transportation companies can use to reduce their carbon footprint and help save the planet:

  1. Decrease idling: Turning off the engine while vehicles sit around waiting can save millions of gallons of fuel every year. Not to mention tens of millions of dollars. With GPS fleet tracking software, companies can keep a watchful eye on vehicle and equipment use and monitor engine run and idle times easily. 
  2. Take fewer trips: The dollar amount of productivity lost to poor planning and traffic is hard to calculate. But by using smart route planning tools, transportation companies can ensure their fleets are being operated at maximum efficiency. 
  3. Know your fleet: The first step to combatting climate change is understanding your fleets carbon footprint and how it can be changed. By monitoring fuel consumption and other key vehicle diagnostics, a fleet manager can ensure they’re doing their part to help the environment.

Climate change is very real. And while how much human interference is responsible or can change is still up for debate, there’s no harm in taking proactive measures to ensure your fleet isn’t causing more harm than necessary.

For more information on how your fleet can help battle CO2 emissions, view our infographic.  

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