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Trends in truck freight energy use and carbon emissions in selected OECD countries from 1973 to 2005

By Fatumata Kamakaté and Lee Schipper

Abstract

Trends in truck freight energy use and carbon emissions In the age of global supply chains and "just in time" logistics, fast and efficient goods movement is often seen as an economic imperative. Growth in global goods movement not only translates into growth in commercial trucking activity but also into growth in the share of trucking compared to other modes of in-country freight transportation. These trends have a significant impact on the energy intensity of freight transport. Using a bottom-up approach relying on national data, this study compares the energy intensity of truck freight in Australia, France, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States from 1973 to the present. The analysis builds on previous work by Schipper et al. (1997) and Schipper and Marie-Lilliu (1999) decomposing energy use for freight. Intensity is expressed in terms of vehicle intensity (megajoules/vehicle-kilometer), modal energy intensity (megajoules/tonne-kilometer), and carbon intensity (grams/tonne-km). The cross-country comparison highlights in part the influence of geography, transportation infrastructure, and truck utilization patterns on energy and carbon intensity from this sector. While improving fuel economy of individual vehicles is very important, large reductions in trucking energy use and emissions will also come from better logistics and driving, higher load factors, and better matching of truck capacity to load.Truck freight Energy intensity Modal share

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