"Trucks as Green as Trains…"
MAJOR STUDY DESTROYS MYTH THAT Rail Is Better than Road Transport.
Text of Media Release issued today by ATA & SARTA
The Australian Trucking Association today called
on the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for
Transport & Regional Services, Mr John Anderson to take note of the report
recently released by the Canadian Government "Truck and
Air Emissions", which identifies that trucks out perform rail both in
an environmental and an efficiency sense, and review
the Government's policies to reflect this
"The Trucking industry accepts and totally supports the need for an effective multi-modal transport infrastructure to service Australia's needs. In fact trucking today is the biggest user of rail freight services but the Government clearly needs to review its current policy of shifting the balance of investment into rail primarily. That policy is based upon the unfounded argument that rail is cleaner and more efficient that road transport and the Canadian Report shows up the fallacy of that premise.
It is NOT in the community's economic or environmental interests to pander to that popular but erroneous belief." Michael Apps, Deputy Chief Executive Officer said. "The geography of Canada and the nature of the trucking and rail businesses in Canada provide a fair comparison to the Australian situation.
The report's findings are relevant to Australia and demand a rethink about the direction in which Australia is heading with its large investment into massive rail projects. We encourage development of productive railway lines, as an integral part of a multi-modal system, to best utilise the limited amount of money available for infrastructure investment but not white elephant projects," Michael Apps Deputy Chief Executive Officer said.
It's time to move to a more sophisticated debate on the road v's rail debate. The findings and conclusions of the Canadian Government report clearly highlights that trucks are as efficient and environmentally friendly as trains in carrying out the freight task. It is particularly important that the Government recognises this in its inevitable policy negotiations with the Democrats and the Greens.
The Canadian Government report's key value is that at last Australia's politicians, policy makers and the community will begin to hear the message that the ATA has been sending that rail and road must work together and not be pitched against each other by politicians, the rail lobby, or uninformed community interests on flawed environmental arguments. The trucking industry provides a unique and flexible mode of transport, which in most respects does not compete with rail and which serves needs that can not generally be met by rail, now or in the future.
"Rail is an efficient mode of transport and should continue to provide freight services where it is actually competitive but not at the expense of tax payers subsidising rail to prop up its pseudo-competitiveness and based on some romantic notion of retaining an antiquated and inefficient rail service because it's a nice idea or because of its so called environmental benefits. Anybody who advocates the removal of trucks from Australia's roads needs to read this report." Mr Apps said.
Some Facts on Trucks and the Environment
The study, Trucks and Air Emissions, carried out by Environment Canada, highlights that, on a per-unit basis, truck emission rates are lower than locomotive emission rates for particulate matter (MP) and nitrous oxides (NOx)
While trucks' higher speed variability causes higher greenhouse (HC) and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions over the test cycle, in constant load tests these emissions would be at or below those of rail.
The study found that trucks have reduced their
emissions more than 80% since the 1970's,
decreased their fuel consumption rate 50%, and increased their
payload efficiency 300%.
Simple modal comparison, of the kind often espoused by railway advocates, are faulty because of the complexity of the transport chain.
The report noted that simple comparisons of truck and rail fuel efficiencies do not take into consideration critical factors such as the nature of the cargo, route direction, service speed and shipment loss/damage.
The report points to the productivity and
energy-efficiency of longer and heavier truck
In 1975, most of the freight in Canada moved on five-axle semi trailers with 35-foot trailers. Multi-combinations and 53 foot trailers are now more commonplace and fuel efficiency per thousand tonne-kilometre has increased threefold (this is similar to Australia).
It claims freight on an eight-axle double road train operating at 62,500 kilograms uses 36% less fuel per tonne hauled than a semi-trailer. (This is similar to Australia).
The study argues that increasing road capacity, restricting demand, better traffic control, and the use of non-stop intersections such as roundabouts all are techniques that can be employed to smooth the flow of traffic; and reduce the generation of excess emissions and fuel consumption.
Energy consumption increases 14% every time a
small truck stops in city traffic. As the
number of stops increases, so does the efficiency penalty; reaching
68% over 10 stops on a 10 kilometre route.
Similarly, by maintaining a constant speed at 90km/h, as opposed to varying speeds on congested highways, truck fuel use can be reduced significantly. Similar reductions in NOx emissions could be also expected.
Maintaining the quality of the road surface through frequent repair or repaving can play a significant role in cutting emissions. A smooth road's lower rolling resistance can reduce fuel consumption 10% compared with a rough road.
Compared with concrete surfaces, the study found
asphalt roads become more "plastic"
at higher summer temperatures; increasing the rolling resistance, especially
of heavily loaded trucks. Reductions of up to 8% in fuel consumption
were measured on concrete.
A major factor driving the trucking industry's environmental improvement is new diesel fuel and engine regulations that will see truck engine emissions of PM and NOx virtually disappear with the 2007 model year trucks.
In the last 20 years alone, truck fuel efficiency has more than doubled. A truck can squeeze 2.3 times as many kilometres out of a litre of fuel in 2001 as it could in 1975.
Copies of the report are available on the CTA website http://www.cantruck.com
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