With Money on the Table, What's the Best Move for Green Trucking?

In October, RMI and trucking industry leaders launched the North American Council for Freight Efficiency to look holistically at the opportunities to double trucking efficiency by changing operations and employing technologies that are available now.

The NACFE aims to drive the adoption of efficient technologies by working with industry stakeholders to establish and communicate credible and performance-based benefits.

Kawai said the NACFE can help ensure the DOE funding is put to good use by by providing understanding to both companies and consumers: categorizing the pipeline, evaluating performance and helping guide development.

"If you produce something the industry will not accept, you fall short of your end-goal," she asserted. "Ultimately, the greatest fossil-fuel reduction will come from a technology that the market demands, trusts and is incentivized to implement."

Greater Reward from Integrated Solutions

According to Chu, $100 million will be funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and that the winning projects "will create over 500 jobs, primarily researchers, engineers and managers."

Kawai and Simpson point out that an integrated approach may yield benefits extending beyond the initial "tech" jobs.

"Technology providers will only hire so many people," Simpson said. "Integrated solutions however cause snowballing benefits."

If efficient technologies are brought to commercialization in a way that is affordable, he continued, the industry has a boost in overall profitability and increases their profit-margin. This stabilizes the entire freight transportation marketplace, which traditionally has been volatile. Predictability allows companies to invest in efficiency. Increased demand equals more jobs for not only innovators, but mechanics, installers and drivers.

"Ultimately, we will see the greatest payoff if we can get collaboration between all stakeholders," says Kawai. "We all need to get on the same page and work together now, while the money is on the table. It is the only way to achieve transformation."

Kelly Vaughn is an analyst with Rocky Mountain Institute's Communications Department where she focuses on communications strategy and initiative development. She has her MA in Communications from University of Dubuque and has extensive experience in social marketing and PR.

Images courtesy of RMI.