UK Trucks "Go Long" for Cleaner Emissions

You get the idea.

An independent UK study recently showed that increasing the overall length of commercial trucks could dramatically reduce overall emissions without compromising safety.  The study (available for download here) showed that a 2 meter increase in maximum length (without an increase in maximum weight) could “increase capacity for haulers transporting lightweight goods by up to 13%, and cut carbon emissions by around one hundred thousand tonnes each year.”

How big of an impact will cutting 100,000 tonnes of carbon emissions have in more familiar terms?  I’m glad you asked.

1 gallon of diesel fuel is allowed by the EPA (whose standard is comparable to Euro5) to contain 2778 g of carbon.  Each tonne of carbon emissions contains 1 million grams of carbon.  Some quick (probably flawed) math puts the “emissions savings” at just under 360 gallons of diesel (1,000,000 / 2,778 = 359.9).  Saving that 100,000 tonnes, then, is roughly equivalent to not burning 36 million gallons of diesel each year (360 * 100,000 = 36,000,000).

If any of that math is even halfway correct, lengthening trucks could be a huge win for the environment.

What do you think, readers?  I know we have a few energy industry guys out there – am I doing the math correctly?  Have I dramatically over-simplified things … and by how much?  Let us know in the comments, below.

SourcesDepartment for Transport (UK), the EPA.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.