Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Congress, states can enable carbon emissions cuts from freight with better planning

By Therese Langer, ACEEE Senior Fellow, Transportation

Freight transport is responsible for a large—and rising—share of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Despite great strides in truck efficiency and the potential to transition to electric trucks in many applications, vehicle improvements are not enough to deliver a sustainable freight sector. We need a freight network that is itself more efficient, with streamlined truck routing and loading, as well as greater use of trains and ships.

A new ACEEE report examines how state freight planning can advance efficient freight networks and shows how federal transportation law—which Congress is working to update right now—could help. In fact, Congress’s pending reauthorization of federal transportation programs may be the best opportunity for several years to help the freight sector chart a new course.

The U.S. House passed a transportation bill this month as part of a broader infrastructure bill. The bill included several helpful provisions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, though it missed some opportunities to enable emissions reductions from the freight sector. The Senate’s transportation bill has only moved through committee, and it largely fails to tackle freight planning…

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