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Auto Transport: Preparing to Go Green by 2050

July 17, 2020
by Kacie LaCombe

On the heels of California’s first of its kind zero-emission truck rule, several other states have raised their hand to join. Three weeks ago, California Air Resources Board announced its plan to transition to zero-emission trucks starting as early as 2024. This initiative mandates that every new medium to heavy-duty truck sell be a completely zero-emission transport by 2050. 

Since the new-rule announcement, 15 additional states have joined to sign a memorandum together to announce their  collaborative efforts to expedite the market for electric heavy duty trucks. As of July 14th, Connecticut, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington all signed to join California's effort.

While incentives for carriers and logistics organizations to reduce CO2 emissions across the country is not new, this is the first official rule. And while 2050 can feel like a lifetime away, especially during a pandemic, it does beg the question - what does this mean for the auto transport industry? Here are 3 key takeaways on what to consider for the future.

 

It’s Going to Take a Long Time

What’s important to consider now is just how much engineering will need to be done to turn auto transport green. All these states with new environmental mandates, specific to trucking, still need to meet the demand of not only creating electric trucks, but also charging stations across the country. And with the economic challenges that come with a pending COVID-19 recession, there isn’t a readily available financial plan in place. 

“the proposed mandate is expected to start in the 2024 model year and initially require (5-9 percent) zero emission vehicles (ZEV) based on class rising to 30-50% by 2030.”

Due to both of these restrictions, Reuters is reporting that, “the proposed mandate is expected to start in the 2024 model year and initially require (5-9 percent) zero emission vehicles (ZEV) based on class rising to 30-50% by 2030.” It also outlines that, “the regulation would apply to pickup trucks weighing 8,500 pounds or more, but not to light-duty trucks, which are covered by separate zero emission regulations.”

Meaning, there is no immediate action required. And if this year has taught us anything, who knows what changes will occur between now and 2050.

 

auto transport going green

You Can Keep Your Non-Electric Rig 

Like most carriers, cost is an immediate concern. An important takeaway from this mandate is that it only applies to new trucks. Carriers and logistics companies will not be required to replace their existing truck with a zero-emission rig, but  in the event that they are to purchase a new truck in California, or one of the other 15 states, there will be more electric transport options as they phase out the sell of medium to heavy-duty diesel-fueled trucks. 

“the regulation would apply to pickup trucks weighing 8,500 pounds or more, but not to light-duty trucks, which are covered by separate zero emission regulations.”

This also doesn’t just apply to multi-vehicle trailers, but to hot shot trucks, as well. Again, no need to stress an immediate or mandated trade in. But if you are a car hauler within the regulated states and think you might be investing in a new truck or rig within the next 5 years, it is worth considering electric or reduced emission trucks. 

 

How Other Auto Transport Companies Have Begun to Reduce Emissions 

If you’re looking for a new truck or wanting to begin considering how you can slowly make your move towards reducing CO2 emissions, there are many steps that carriers can take today. One aspect of hauling that increases emissions is idling. 

"While the initial investment into green technology for trucks is costly, the suggested end result is financially strategic."

The team at Hansen & Adkins Auto Transport realized that if they could fit their trucks with a start/stop system then they could operate with decreased fuel consumption and emissions without sacrificing speed. As CDL Life News reported, after working directly with Volvo to implement the start/stop system on their fleet, Hansen & Adkins co-founder, Steve Hansen said, “the result is a truck that performs much faster while being more efficient and quiet.” Upon conception, Hansen & Adkins Auto Transport was recognized by Toyota’s Environmental Leadership Award. 

"Energy-saving technologies aren’t just about the environment, it’s also about sustainability and effective cost cutting."

While the initial investment into green technology for trucks is costly, the suggested end result is financially strategic. Energy-saving technologies aren’t just about the environment, it’s also about sustainability and effective cost cutting. To accomplish this, many carriers in the auto transport industry have started partnering with SmartWay, an EPA organization, partners with Auto Transport professionals and general freight companies to adopt fuel-saving technologies. Carriers and Shippers can join SmartWay for free to get started on sustainability and fuel-saving initiatives with their own trucks. 

 

Planning for the future seems like a complicated process right now, and certainly the year 2050 feels like a million years away, but it’s worth being aware of how our industry will eventually change and evolve. And I think we can all agree, any innovation that can help carriers and shippers cut costs, promote sustainability, and increase profitability is worth giving a chance. 

Want to know more about other technologies that can help your business? Check out our blog on how a transportation management system gives you increased control.

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