Somebody famous who escapes me at the moment said something like “you’re judged by your outcomes, not your motives.” Well, let’s hope that’s true for my self serving proposal to end global warming. Let me start by pointing out that I am in no way a climatologist (or and economist as you’ll see), but that doesn’t stop all of hollywood from weighing in on the topic.
So here’s how I see it. One of the biggest factors to our recent economic and climate-related woes in this country is gas consumption. Not only does it send a ton of emissions in to the atmosphere, but it’s expensive and raising the cost of almost every product. The answer is not to just buy things online, because they still need to be shipped. More emissions, higher shipping costs to offset gas prices…that’s not the answer.
I don’t see everyone moving to electric cars in the next few months, but what I suggest is that Fedex and UPS, as well as the USPS, all switch to 100% electric vehicles. Stay with me on this. You no longer waste gas going to the mall. Instead, you shop from the comfort of your home. Then, you don’t end up paying more for shipping, because your not subsidizing fuel costs for delivery services. This ends our dependance on foreign oil, our troops come home…everyone wins.
Problems with this plan? There are a few. First off, the economy goes to crap when we all stop going to stores on the same day. Sure, we’re just moving our money from a brick and mortar store to an online shop, but all of the foreclosed mom and pop shops won’t care about that. Second, the electrical power to fuel this fleet of delivery trucks has to come from somewhere. I’m guessing coal. Back to square one.
Getting back to my self-serving motives, this would really boost the Web development business though. 🙂
So obviously this idea is a bit of a weak idea. Not much thought went in to it clearly. But after doing a bit of research to find the picture above, I did find some encouraging information from the big delivery services:
Both FedEx and UPS acknowledge that they’ve undertaken their respective missions to discover and use alternative fuels for corporate and social reasons. “This fits into our corporate culture of innovation and our focus on efficiencies and good corporate citizenship, and, while there is value in this from the standpoint of reputation, it underscores our commitment to operate in the most efficient and responsible manner possible,” [said Mitch Jackson, director of environmental affairs and sustainability for Memphis-based FedEx Corporation in a recent article in The Manufacturer.]
Over the past two years, FedEx has been operating 93 hybrid electric vehicles in the US (the largest hybrid electric fleet in the country)… [with] 1 million revenue miles to date. These hybrids use the same chassis and body as the conventional FedEx diesel unit, which weighs 16,000 pounds, with 700 cubic feet of cargo capacity and deliver 42 percent better fuel efficiency.
Author of The Manufacturer article, April Terreri, emphasizes that UPS and FedEx are testing hydraulic hybrids. A UPS spokesperson indicated that lab tests of the world’s first full-series hydraulic hybrid delivery vehicle showed “an improvement of 60 percent to 70 percent in fuel economy over a conventional UPS vehicle.”
Payback is definitely an important consideration in evaluating any deployment, notes Heather Robinson, spokesperson for Atlanta-based UPS. “This is key in deciding to what level we can deploy alternative-fueled vehicles in the UPS fleet.”
Of course, that’s just smart business. But what we need to do is let the delivery companies know that we will support them in this effort. I’d spend an extra dollar per shipment to know that my order is going in a “green” truck. I’m sure big companies would switch from one carrier to another if they saw a cost benefit from lower fuel/shipping costs. Switching the fleet over will take time and money, but I’ve got to think a 40+% fuel savings will help pay for that in short order.
Just food for thought.