Trucking Industry Causes More Pollution Than Airplanes
Innovation is truly going to be the savior of tired, old technology tropes. One of the most tiresome problems is how to limit pollution in a world that simply won't/doesn't want to regulate it properly. As much as we want to make air travel the culprit for greenhouse gas emissions, a recent study has shown that freight trucks account for almost five times the pollution as aircraft in the United States.
Back in November 2017, Tesla introduced its first heavy duty truck (the Semi) which is the first all-electric big rig capable of having a 500-mile range on a single charge, and it far surpasses most diesel-powered trucks in both safety and performance. While this invention truly is necessary and remarkable, Tesla isn't the first company to create an electric big-rig. Mercedes-Benz has created such freight-trucks as well, however they don't match Tesla in "futuristic" capabilities.
From an ecological point of view, especially for those in the Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing realm, the development and expansion of electric vehicles is going to be necessary in minimizing transportation-related pollution in the United States.
As the chart below indicates, medium, heavy duty and light trucks account for 41% (23% + 18%) of all transportation-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the US in 2015 according to the EPA. On the other hand, airplanes (i.e. commercial, military, and non-commercial) account for less than half of what freight trucks alone emit each year.
Tesla noted that they plan to start production on the Semi in 2019, however, the company has a habit of pushing out production dates so the development could actually take place at an even later date. However, sharing many components as the Tesla Model 3 does help in that a pickup in production for both vehicles could help speed up the process.
Investments in this space are certainly going to be needed if the US has any hope of slowing down emissions outside of government regulation.
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