Sitting in your car with the radio on, slumped in your seat, shaking your head as you look at your speedometer—0 to15 to 20 to 10 to 0 mph.  Rush Hour.  We all know what it feels like to be at the mercy of a congested road.  Hundreds of people, all going the same direction at the same time, with no other options for getting from point A to point B.  Today’s “Talking Tech” is about the real trouble with traffic and it just may change the way you think about it the next time you find yourself dead in the water.  Beyond the frustration and inconvenience, it is single-handedly causing waste and cost at levels you’ll find shocking. (READ MORE)

At Barton, we believe that part of making life better is to understand the things in this world that need to get better. Then we want to find out how to actually make it happen.  In the spirit of understanding, let’s start by looking at some numbers. Cars outnumber trucks 20:1 and just one car idling for 10 minutes pumps out 6 pounds of CO2.  Now let’s put that in perspective, in that same 10 minutes a truck pumps out even more CO2, so much so that it is 113% of a car! Darn trucks! They’re polluting our air. That’s what you might be thinking. And we don’t blame you.

But in truth, trucks have gotten much more fuel efficient. They emit far fewer pollutants in to the air than they used to. Yea! Trucks! But here’s the bad news. A truck idling for just 10 minutes loses every bit of the fuel efficiency and the clean-air benefits of the new technology. Something as simple as idling—trucks do it 141 million hours each year— thwarts our technological advances!

That equals pollution. Let’s talk dollars. In one hour of thumb twiddling, the truck owner bleeds $60 dollars. That’s a dollar a minute for more than 51,000 trucks each year. You lose too, waiting in traffic. Idling has a powerful ripple effect that leaves small business owners and customers paying the price. A price tag that amounts to $9.2 billion dollars shared by everyone involved. Part of the price you paid for your new car, new suit, new pair of boots, or that new TV covered idling time in traffic.  All that money goes poof; up in smoke!

Are your eyes a little wider? Ours were when we first began to factor these environmental and monetary losses into our business expenses and planning.  We had to face the fact that the air we breathe is suffering and so is our industry—despite the great progress in pollution control and fuel technology. Trucking is 115% more fuel efficient than in the past, but it doesn’t matter. To watch all the effort go up in smoke is something that makes us cringe.  A carbon tax doesn’t fix traffic congestion.

Out of the 3 million trucks moving loads all across North America, the majority are owned by small businesses.  These trucks only account for 7% of highway traffic, yet they are bearing the weight of approximately 36% of the taxes and fees that go into the Highway Trust Fund. What’s that money doing? Our industry is paying the bulk of the price for our highways, so maybe idling is a problem that is worth a closer look. So that’s what we’re doing. In part 2 of this two part series, we’ll discover the real problem at hand and what should be done about it. It life is going to get better, it’s time Barton Logistics got behind it. Stay tuned for “The Truth About Traffic – Part 2.”