We already know that driving at the speed limit saves gas and reduces CO2. The trick is incentivizing people to actually slow down, a task that's easier said than done. But with the price of diesel fuel hovering at around $4 a gallon, many trucking companies are "crying about the price of fuel." In order to save money, many of those companies are asking their drivers to slow down. The need to cut fuel costs has always been key given that "fuel accounts for about a quarter of carriers' operating costs." But at 4 bucks a gallon, fuel costs are "surpassing labor as the biggest expense for some carriers." Fortunately for the carriers and the climate, slowing down can have a real impact.
Truckers and industry officials say slowing a tractor-trailer rig from 75 mph to 65 mph increases fuel mileage by more than a mile a gallon, a significant bump for machines that get less than 10 miles per gallon hauling thousands of pounds of freight. Even sitting still with the engine idling, a rig gulps about a gallon of diesel every hour.
State troopers "have noticed the decline in truckers' speeds" as well, with one trooper noting that "In talking to the drivers, a lot of the large companies are setting policies that give the drivers a little more leeway on the time on their loads — just to save on the fuel." Of course, all this means that the cost of consumer goods will go up which, with the current economic situation, doesn't bode well for turning things around.
Sounds like yet another reason to push for oil-independence and a renewable economy: a renewable economy is a more stable economy, one that is far less susceptible to volatile global energy markets.
See Also: ::3 Big Ideas to Avoid Recession AND Green the Economy, ::Cutting Carbon Emissions, ::Treehugger Homework: Drive the Speed Limit, ::The Single Most Immediately Effective Thing a TreeHugger Can Do, and ::Con-Way Limit Speed on Trucks to Conserve Fuel