By Julia Latham
Can you believe that hundreds of millions of miles are travelled by cars around the world and tens of millions by trucks? That is a significant amount of mileage and it makes you realise why it’s important to be as fuel efficient as possible. It becomes even more crucial when you realise that 13% of global carbon dioxide comes from transport. Of that carbon dioxide, 57% is created by cars and 23% by trucks, with the rest divided amongst other vehicles. We always hear about lowering our carbon footprint but it’s only when you see the figures in real terms that you realise how each of as individuals can make a difference.
We can all take simple steps to make our cars and trucks, especially if we drive for a living, more fuel efficient. Carrying out regular maintenance on our vehicles, reducing drag and changing how we drive, for example by accelerating and braking less harshly, can all make a difference.
Millions of litres of fuel are consumed by cars and trucks to keep them on the roads. Think how much further those vehicles would have been able to travel if every litre was used as efficiently as possible?
Aeroplanes are also fuel thirsty, but best to leave it to the aviation authorities to decide whether that fuel could be more used more efficiently.
Bringing Us What We Need
Much of the fuel that has been expended by aeroplanes, trucks and ships has been used to bring us all the items we take for granted. The amount of freight tonnage, which comes through our docks and airports every year, is astronomical and that freight is then loaded on to trucks and carried along our roads. No wonder many have gone back to buying more locally in order to help preserve these precious fuel resources.
However, the flip side of this coin is that exports, imports and logistics contribute a great deal to the economy. Jobs are created, profit is made by businesses and this, of course, has a positive impact on GDP. Maybe the lesson is just to make every mile, whether by air, road or sea, as efficient as possible and with new technologies it makes this efficiency ever more possible.
Keeping It on the Road
Spare a thought, too, for those truckers who have to keep everything moving along smoothly. There are over 5.7 million truck drivers around the world and with an average salary of a driver in the UK at around twenty-four and a half thousand pounds a year they have to travel many miles for that money. Trucking jobs are a vital part of the logistics train but they also often take drivers far away from their families for extended periods and it can be a tiring job when you spend many hours on the road.
Driving a truck is also a highly skilled job. The average length of a truck is 53 feet and weighs 44,000 kg. Could you imagine manoeuvring that along windy country lanes, through busy town centres and under low bridges, let alone having to reverse it around a tight corner? It’s certainly a job that deserves our admiration and appreciation for keeping everything circulating around the world.
This has just been a brief glance at the incredible transport logistics of which many are usually unaware. Even more amazing is that these figures rise dramatically every day. Why not work out how much fuel you estimate you consume in a year and then let’s all work together to lower our carbon footprints as a global community?