Earth Day has been around longer than NACFE with the first Earth Day celebration occurring on April 22, 1970. The original Earth Day was designed to raise public consciousness about air and water pollution, but today the focus is on moving toward clean energy.
While next year Earth Day will be celebrating its 50th anniversary, we here at NACFE are celebrating 10 years of working to improve the fuel efficiency of the nation’s fleets.
As I look back on NACFE’s 10 years, I recall that we were amid the 2007/2010 EPA heavy-duty engine and vehicle standards and highway diesel ultra-low sulfur diesel implementations. The rule was designed to reduce emissions by up to 95% and cut the allowable sulfur in diesel fuel by 97%.
Then in 2011, NHTSA issued greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for model year 2014-2018 medium- and heavy-duty trucks. That was followed in 2016 by standards through 2027.
The industry has come a long way from the days of black smoke billowing out of the exhaust stack to where we are today where not only do we have clean diesels but also the industry is making real strides in the areas of alternative-fueled vehicles. The journey was not always easy and sometimes the technologies needed to meet the regulations came with a loss of MPG and reduced uptime of the trucks.
In addition, on top of those government mandated changes, many fleets have made and continue to make investments in technologies and practices that allow them to operate in a more fuel efficient manner by getting more miles from a gallon of fuel… no matter what that fuel is.
While Earth Day is just one day out of the year, trucks operate 365 days a year and during every one of those days they remind us of just how much has been done to make all kinds of energy, including diesel fuel, clean. And if history is any guide, my guess is that the industry will continue to make improvements with existing fuels while at the same time continuing to invest in emerging technologies to power trucks while keeping the environment in mind.
Looking back over the last 10 years makes me proud that NACFE has done its part in aiding the progress the trucking industry has made in cleaning up its emissions and reducing its carbon footprint while still operating profitably.