The federal government on Monday proposed for the first time fuel efficiency and emissions standards for commercial trucks, which official estimates say will be hauling 14 billion tons of freight a year by 2018, vs. 11 billion tons in 2006. A joint initiative of the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency, the proposed new rules are designed to eliminate nearly 250 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions during the service lifetime of trucks manufactured in the 2014-2018 model years as well as save 500 million barrels of diesel fuel.
A reduction of up to 20% in carbon emissions and fuel use would be required of tractor-trailer rigs by the 2018 model year.
DRT and EPA estimated that fuel savings would pay for the cost of required upgrades within a year.
The action came three days after the American Trucking Associations announced that it had adopted “a carbon emissions control policy supporting a national fuel economy standard for trucks, rather than government actions to increase fuel prices or alternative fuel mandates. The policy states that ‘carbon emission reductions achieved through national truck fuel economy standards are preferable to government actions that increase fuel prices in an effort to discourage petroleum-based diesel fuel consumption or mandate the use of alternative fuels.’”
“While any federally mandated carbon control program applied to transportation fuels likely will increase the cost of fossil fuels,” said the trucking lobbying group, ”all discussions of carbon control programs should be premised on fundamental principles designed to minimize disruptions to the transportation of goods and to protect the viability of the trucking industry.”
ATA said its new energy policy outlines a framework for evaluating carbon control initiatives and specifies that an effective carbon control program for the trucking industry must,. among other things, produce “cost-effective, verifiable carbon reductions” and “ensure that revenue generated from motor carriers and other highway transportation consumers benefits highway users.”
Beginning today, Chicago Transit Authority began testing its 5000-series prototype railcars on the Orange Line in regularly scheduled service. The rail cars are currently running on the Blue Line and had previously been tested on the Green and Red lines, where testing began last spring.
CTA said the 10 prototype cars, built by Bombardier Transportation, are being tested to determine how they perform when operating in the conditions that CTA's rail fleet is subjected to throughout the year. The prototypes must successfully complete testing on all eight rail lines before CTA will authorize the delivery of the remaining 396 rail cars.
Each car has seven networked security cameras, an event recorder system similar to a black box on an airplane, and sensitive door sensors that promises to detect obstructions better than CTA’s current rail fleet.
Otheramenities include: an LED station indicator map with lights that move in conjunction with the train's location and electronic destination signs—widened to increase the size of the text that improves readability—both inside and outside of the rail car; regenerative braking to help power other trains and on-board electrical systems; and alternating current propulsion system that converts the direct current energy from the third rail to AC for the traction motors.
Amtrak President Joseph Boardman said in an employee advisory Thursday that Chief Operating Officer Bill Crosbie (pictured) is leaving Amtrak immediately and the position is being abolished. The vice presidents of the operating departments will now report directly to Boardman.
“Bill has made important contributions to Amtrak in the seven years he’s been here, and his oversight of the many facets of the operation has supported Amtrak through a period of strong ridership and demand for our services,” Boardman said.
Jim Young, Union Pacific chairman and chief executive officer, said Thursday that “strong volume growth, pricing gains, and operating efficiency” combined to produce 2010 third-quarter net income of $778 million, or $1.56 per diluted share, beating Wall Street estimates, compared with $514 million, or $1.01 per diluted share, in third-quarter 2009. Operating revenue grew 20% to $4.4 billion versus $3.7 billion in the third quarter of 2009.
Union Pacific’s operating ratio was a best-ever 68.2%, 5.6 points better than third-quarter 2009 and 1.2 points better than the previous record.
Other quarterly records were set as diluted earnings per share rose 54% to $1.56 and operating income increased 46% to $1.4 billion.
Third-quarter revenue carloads grew 14% versus 2009 levels as all six business groups reported volume growth. Operating revenue increased 20% to $4.4 billion versus $3.7 billion in third-quarter 2009.
“As the economy continues to recover, we stand ready tosafely and reliably haul more freight,” said Young (pictured at right). “Longer term, we believe Union Pacific is positioned to provide strong value for our customers and shareholders, as the long-standing need for freight rail transportation in our nation provides us with a stable foundation as well as a platform for future growth.”
Both U.S. carload freight volume and U.S. intermodal traffic continued to gain over 2009 levels in the week ending October 16 over the comparable week in 2009, the Association of American Railroads said Thursday.
U.S. carload freight volume rose 10.1%, with 14 of the 19 carload commodity groups registering gains. Metallic ores again notched the most significant gain, up 183.2%. Other commodities gaining included stone, clay, and glass products, up 32%, crushed stone, sand, and gravel, up 30.9%, and grain, up 20.1%. Non-metallic minerals led the decliners, down 25.9%.
U.S. intermodal traffic advanced 15.1% for the week, with container volume up 15.8% and trailer volume up 11.1%.
Canadian freight carload traffic rose 12.3% from last year, while Canadian intermodal rose 16%. Mexican carload freight volume gained 16.8% from the same week last year, while intermodal rose 14.2%.
Combined North American rail volume for the first 41 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was up 9.8% over the comparable 2009 period, while intermodal was up 15.1%.