Going Green – J.B. Hunt Transport Partners with EPA to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in ground freight transportation
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s SmartWay Transport Partnership program is an innovative effort between the government and the transportation industry to develop and implement methods that will improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in transportation.
From ports to manufacturing facilities and distribution centers to your front door, trucks and rail systems are part of a sophisticated, fast-moving ground freight delivery system that delivers products safely and on time. Ground freight is an integral part of the United States economy. According to government and industry statistics, 85 percent of the total value of U.S. cargo is trucked, accounting for 66 percent of all freight by weight. Trucking-related occupations employ about 10 million people.
Transporting ground freight is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for approximately 20 percent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from all transportation sources. Ground freight is also a significant source of smog-forming emissions and other harmful air pollutants that impact public health, particularly the young and the elderly. Ground freight accounts for 40 percent of the oxides of nitrogen emissions (NOx) and 31 percent of the particulate matter emissions (PM) from transportation sources. These emissions can impact air quality and contribute to climate change.
The U.S. EPA’s SmartWay Transport Partnership is a voluntary public-private partnership that addresses greenhouse gas emissions, fuel consumption, criteria pollutants (NOX and PM) and operating costs associated with ground freight transportation operations. The SmartWay Transport Partnership addresses other key national concerns: energy security, energy savings and environmental justice.
Through this voluntary partnership, EPA and its partners expect to eliminate 33 million to 66 million metric tons of CO2 emissions and up to 200,000 tons of NOx emissions per year by 2012. This represents savings of as much as 150 million barrels of oil per year — equivalent to taking about 12 million cars off the road. Working together, SmartWay Transport Partners can incorporate various strategies and technologies to achieve these goals.
The J.B. Hunt Transport Response
Since joining SmartWay in 2004, J.B. Hunt Transport has led the transportation industry in reducing fuel consumption through initiatives such as aerodynamic tractors, low-viscosity drivetrain lubricants, tire-inflation monitoring programs, idle- and speed-management practices, and improved intermodal service offerings. These efforts have made the company’s operations more fuel efficient and less polluting.
The results have been nothing short of stellar. When compared to a base operation with no innovations in fuel efficiency, this amounts to a reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 56 percent, particulate matter by 84 percent and nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 88 percent. On a per-truck basis, J.B. Hunt Transport has reduced emissions by 15 tons per year.
SmartWay members are scored based on their relative fuel efficiency/environmental performance. J.B. Hunt Transport received a score of 1.25, representing outstanding environmental performance. The company was also awarded the honor of displaying the SmartWay Transport Partner logo, the EPA’s symbol for superior fuel efficiency and environmental performance.
J.B. Hunt Transport is doing the right thing for our society and environment by making its operations safe, less harmful and less dependent on carbon-based fossil fuel. SmartWay challenges each of its partners to practice continuous improvement. The following are a few areas where we will continue to improve energy efficiencies:
• Intermodal – Investing in creating more intermodal network options and truck to rail conversions
• Driver training – Helping newer drivers learn optimal shifting and driving habits
• Idle elimination – Exploring options to eliminate idle, such as direct-fired heaters, low-cost, quick-payback technology available to reduce cool-weather overnight idling, and auxiliary power units that provide all-weather power without idling the main tractor engine
• Light-weight equipment – Modifying equipment to further increase payload and/or fuel efficiency
• Tires – Using single-wide and fuel-efficient tires coupled with tire-inflation management programs
• Hybrid/Alternative fuel vehicles – Exploring ways to use hybrids and alternative fuels in urban/local-haul environments where alternative fuel supplies can be more readily available
“Besides being one of the safest transportation companies on the road, we are also one of the more sustainable and environmentally friendly,” said Kirk Thompson, president and CEO of J.B. Hunt Transport. “We will continue to seek further improvements in our fuel efficiency while reducing the negative impact on air quality by making our operations less dependent on carbon-based fossil fuel.”