As we celebrate Earth Day this weekend, we are reminded of the importance of promoting environmentally-friendly policies. Often, environmental goals are at odds with other objectives such as productivity or safety. In the case of five additional feet for twin trailers, the productivity gains have matching and correlated environmental benefits. A change to the length of twin trailers in the less than truckload (LTL) market, with no additional weight, would streamline the use of resources and have a dramatic positive impact on the environment. Extending 28-foot trailers by five feet would result in 3.1 billion fewer vehicle miles traveled, 4,500 fewer annual truck crashes and 53.2 million hours saved due to less congestion.
With fewer miles traveled, the LTL industry would use less fuel — conservative estimates show a 255-million-gallon reduction in annual diesel fuel use. That is a lot of crude that is not drilled, transported, refined, transported again and burned to power the LTL fleet. Furthermore, a five-foot extension for twin trailers, with no change in the weight limits, would result in 2.9 million fewer tons of carbon emissions.
Sustainability for a growing economy requires a close look at all policies that affect the development, transport and use of goods. When it comes to freight transport, the LTL industry and the many consumers and businesses that rely on them have a proposal with clear environmental benefits that deserves support.