Ever since I was a young lad, I’ve heard of the importance of caring for our environment. It seems like a good plan to take care of where we live. At this time, we don’t have an alternative planet to live on. There’s a lot of talk about future technologies and alternative fuels to make life as we know it more sustainable. The question that often comes to my mind is, “How serious is the population’s concern about our sustainability on this planet that we call Earth?”. 

Regarding my contribution to sustainability within the trucking industry, my goal was to reach the consumption of only a pint of fuel for each mile traveled with a tractor-trailer. A mile per pint equals 8 miles per gallon. Currently, my concentration is on maintaining double-digit fuel economy numbers, while traveling at speeds up to 75 miles per hour.

In the past, I wrote my thoughts about what would happen if each driver in the United States, through minimal effort, were to use 1 Gallon less of fuel per week. With approximately 229 million licensed drivers, 1 gallon would equal 229 million gallons of fuel per week. To put a better visual on this, it would be just a tiny bit shy of 347 Olympic-sized swimming pools filled with fuel. The point I’m trying to make is: At what point will the population of our planet get serious about sustainability?

The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991 put a serious damper on the trucking industry regarding ton-mile efficiencies. That act basically hamstrung the industry by freezing all maximum length and weight restrictions indefinitely at the levels they were at that time. This led to a patchwork of areas that were grandfathered into the system, because they were already in use. In other words, this act blocked the ability of states to seek greater efficiency from longer/heavier combination vehicles if they weren’t already in use before.

If we were serious about our sustainability, there would be more emphasis on purchasing items that were grown or manufactured from a regional area, instead of moving materials, at times, from halfway around the world. While on this roll, there would also be a lot more carpooling, bicycle riding, and walking, along with mass transit where appropriate. Never would we see a line of vehicles sitting at a drive-thru idling away fuel, if indeed, we were serious enough about the human race’s sustainability on our planet. 

I’m all for the exploration and adoption of new and innovative alternative energy technologies to transport people, as well as goods into the future. While I think it’s important to search for new technologies, in my opinion, it’s also vital to be as efficient as possible with the fossil fuel-based energy sources that are employed to move the world economy, as we know it today. 

There was a time when one of the major energy sources came from burning trees. This energy source put quite a burden on trees growing fast enough to supply the demand. Not only were trees used as fuel, but trees were also used to build ships, wagons, and shelter. I’m sure there was a time when it became visually eminent that there needed to be a change regarding exploiting the lowly tree for so many purposes. 

Comments (0)

Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/T™, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

Read These Next...