How much can we count on EVs to slow the contribution to greenhouse gas emissions? Do certain EVs make more of a dent? How does last-mile delivery play a role in all of this? We’ve pulled the latest data!

Decreasing the carbon footprint: the latest data University of Michigan researchers uncovered on electric trucks and their potential to help the environment

What’s the answer to decreasing greenhouse gas emissions? We know EVs in general can make an impact, but to make an even bigger dent, a new study points directly to electric pickup trucks as the answer.  

According to the research from University of Michigan and Ford Motor Company, sedans, SUVs and pickup trucks make up for about 58% of transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Another stat: 14% of light-duty vehicle sales in 2020 were pickup trucks. It comes as good news as many big-name auto makers are ramping up production of electric trucks.

Via Rivian

Researchers took a deep dive into the life cycle emissions of pickup trucks and laid those numbers up against data from SUVs and sedans. Here’s what they found: trading a gas-powered vehicle with an EV that’s like it saves about 45 metric tons of carbon emissions.

What about if you trade a gas-powered SUV for an electric one? The savings jump to 56 tons. Replacing a gas-powered pickup truck to an electric one? The savings extends to 74 metric tons.

Researchers said when it comes to electric vehicles, they release around 64% less emissions over the course of their life compared to vehicles with a gas tank. What all comes into play here? This percentage adds in everything from the vehicle’s production process to its end of life. While the EPA does point to EVs creating carbon pollution because of the electric needed to charge them up, it also points to this – EVs have no tailpipe emissions and even with electricity emissions, data finds EVs often have lower levels of greenhouse gasses when compared to a fuel-powered vehicle.

How does LMD come into play?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just dropped its 2022 report this month. It found costs are going down for many important forms of renewable energy and EV batteries. It also found more people are hopping on board with both. That’s the good news. The bad news? Even with falling costs and policy changes, there are still major changes that need to take place.

One place to look is at last-mile delivery. According to a 2021 study from The Sustainable Last Mile, local fulfillment centers can help lower LMD emissions between 17 and 26 percent by 2025. It explains during the pandemic the LMD delivery industry was shaken by the behaviors of retailers and shoppers. It led to stores acting as fulfillment centers and the emergence of “ship from store.”

Straight from the brief of that study, “The last mile ecosystem is at a tipping point. Go one way, and it can extend these gains. Go the other way, and environmental impacts will worsen.”

So, lets talk about how LMD can make positive gains on the environment. The research report says logistics companies need to focus on three big things:

  • Putting data at the heart of operations
  • Exploring partnerships and shared assets (think Fluid Truck share!)
  • Electrifying their delivery fleets

With this being said, the report also makes a good point: in order to reach sustainable LMD practices, it’s going to take more than just logistics companies on board. The report says, “it will take all ecosystem players working together in ways they never have before.”

Want to know how it says retailers, consumers and the government can play a role? Read the full brief here. Also this month, Forbes published a breakdown about the importance of brands highlighting sustainability.

How is Fluid Truck making a difference?

Fluid Truck’s Ford E-Transit, an electric cargo van.

We know Fluid Truck has a part to play in helping our environment, and we take pride in moving in the right direction. It’s why we continue to grow our EV fleet! Last week we told you about the latest addition to our  commercial EV fleet –  the Ford E-Transit.

We love making it easier for businesses owners to give EVs a run, since they can rent them instead of committing to purchasing one (or a whole fleet of them). It all comes down to using a resource-sharing model that allows companies to increase sustainability practices. After all, it’s clear from the data in this piece, we all have a part to play.