White Paper

Achieving Freight Transport GHG Emissions Reductions through Emerging Technologies

November 22, 2021

Freight movement in the United States accounted for 31% of all transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 and continues to grow. This working paper summarizes a preliminary investigation into the potential to reduce freight GHG emissions over the coming decades using emerging technologies that are commercially available today. The focus is on logistical improvements enabled by information and communications technology (ICT), but we also include vehicle electrification and vehicle automation and connectivity to understand how the emissions reduction benefits of all these technologies may evolve and relate to one another over time.

In the short and medium term, ICT-based operational improvements can provide the majority of potential GHG reductions. While vehicle technology improvements such as electrification and automation have great long-term potential for emissions reductions, ICT-enabled logistical improvements can achieve substantial emissions reductions in the next 10–15 years, a period in which establishing a rapid trajectory toward eliminating emissions is essential.

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Suggested citation:
Mersky, A., and T. Langer. 2021. Achieving Freight Transport GHG Emissions Reductions through Emerging Technologies. Washington, DC: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.….


This Article Was About

Freight Fuel Economy Transportation System Efficiency Emerging Technologies


Avi Mersky
Senior Researcher, Transportation program
therese langer
Therese Langer
Senior Fellow, Transportation
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