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The transportation sector is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States accounts for approximately 29% of total emissions. To combat this environmental challenge, it is crucial for transportation shippers to adopt sustainable transportation solutions. By doing so, they can actively contribute to reducing their environmental impact while enjoying numerous additional benefits. In this article, we will explore some of the key sustainable transportation solutions available to shippers and highlight the advantages of embracing them.

Electric Vehicles (EVs)

One of the most promising sustainable transportation solutions is the use of electric vehicles. EVs run on electricity, producing zero direct greenhouse gas emissions. With advancements in technology, EVs are becoming increasingly affordable and efficient, making them a viable option for shippers to consider. By transitioning their fleets to electric vehicles, shippers can significantly reduce their carbon footprint while also benefiting from potential cost savings on fuel and maintenance. Although the United States is lagging behind in EV solutions, the U.S. has increased in use of EV trucking vehicles considerably since 2021.

Electric vehicles offer the following advantages:

  • Reduced emissions: EVs produce zero emissions, which can help to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Lower operating costs: EVs are more efficient than diesel trucks, which can lead to lower operating costs.
  • Quieter operation: EVs are quieter than diesel trucks, which can reduce noise pollution and improve the quality of life for people living near highways.
  • Greater torque: EVs have more torque than diesel trucks, which can improve acceleration and performance.
  • Simpler maintenance: EVs have fewer moving parts than diesel trucks, which can lead to lower maintenance costs.

Supporting Trucking Efficiency and Emission Reductions Act (STEER Act)

In July 2021, the bipartisan STEER Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, aiming to drive emission reductions in the trucking industry. The bill proposes a voucher program designed to assist trucking companies in implementing active emission reducing technologies on their vehicles. By reducing fuel consumption and emissions, these technologies have the potential to help the industry achieve its climate goals.

Supported by influential organizations such as the American Trucking Associations, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, the STEER Act is currently awaiting further action in the House of Representatives.

Key Provisions of the STEER Act

  • Voucher Program for Active Emission Reducing Technologies: The STEER Act establishes a voucher program that offers trucking companies financial assistance for up to 75% of the cost associated with installing active emission reducing technologies on their trucks.
  • Preference for Domestic Technologies: To promote domestic innovation and manufacturing, the STEER Act gives priority to technologies that are manufactured and installed in the United States.
  • Department of Energy’s Role: The STEER Act mandates the Department of Energy to develop a comprehensive plan aimed at promoting the widespread adoption of active emission reducing technologies in the trucking industry. This plan will include strategies to raise awareness, provide technical support, and facilitate collaboration among relevant stakeholders.

U.S. Department of Transportation

Fleet Management Software and Benefits

Fleet management software has revolutionized the trucking industry by providing tools to optimize operations and enhance efficiency. Through effective route planning, maximized vehicle utilization, reduced idle time, and proactive maintenance, companies can achieve significant cost savings, improve customer service, and reduce their environmental impact.

Route Planning and Optimization

Fleet management software provides tools for efficient route planning and optimization. By analyzing various factors such as traffic patterns, delivery schedules, and vehicle capabilities, the software helps companies identify the most time and fuel-efficient routes. This optimization not only reduces fuel consumption but also enhances on-time delivery performance and customer satisfaction.

Maximizing Vehicle Utilization

The software enables effective fleet scheduling, ensuring that trucks are utilized to their fullest capacity. By minimizing empty miles and optimizing load distribution, companies can reduce costs and increase revenue-generating opportunities.

Reducing Vehicle Idling Time

Excessive vehicle idling is a major contributor to fuel waste and unnecessary emissions. Fleet management software allows companies to monitor and manage vehicle idling time effectively. Through real-time data and alerts, companies can identify and address instances of prolonged idling, promoting fuel efficiency, reducing emissions, and extending the lifespan of their vehicles.

Maintenance and Diagnostics

Fleet management software often includes advanced maintenance and diagnostics capabilities. It enables companies to track vehicle performance, monitor fuel consumption, and schedule proactive maintenance.

Enhanced Safety and Compliance

Safety is a top priority for trucking companies, and fleet management software plays a crucial role in supporting a safe and compliant operation. The software offers features such as driver behavior monitoring, real-time tracking, and electronic logging, ensuring adherence to regulatory requirements.

Benefits of Sustainable Transportation Solutions for Shippers

Cost Savings

Adopting sustainable transportation solutions can lead to significant cost savings for transportation shippers. Electric vehicles, for example, have lower fuel and maintenance costs compared to traditional internal combustion engine vehicles. By reducing reliance on fossil fuels and optimizing operational efficiency, shippers can experience long-term financial benefits.

Increased Efficiency

Sustainable transportation solutions often go hand in hand with increased efficiency. Electric vehicles offer improved energy utilization and regenerative braking systems, maximizing energy recovery. Efficiency gains not only reduce emissions, but also enhance productivity and save time.

Enhanced Brand Image

In an era of heightened environmental awareness, businesses that embrace sustainable practices can enhance their brand image. By prioritizing sustainable transportation solutions, shippers can position themselves as environmentally responsible and attract eco-conscious customers. Embracing sustainable transportation practices also appeals to socially responsible investors who value companies with a commitment to reducing their carbon footprint.


Transportation shippers play a pivotal role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change. By adopting sustainable transportation solutions, shippers can significantly reduce their environmental impact. Furthermore, the adoption of these solutions brings about various benefits, including cost savings, increased efficiency, improved safety, and an enhanced brand image.