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We keep on truckin': Trends in freight energy use and carbon emissions in 11 IEA countries


  • Eom, Jiyong
  • Schipper, Lee
  • Thompson, Lou


Based on detailed national and international data on freight transportation, we analyze trends in freight CO2 emissions in 11 IEA countries from the earliest year of data availability to 2007–2010. The cross-country comparison of the freight transportation sector indicates that per capita CO2 emissions span a wide range and are mostly determined by local needs without full knowledge or coordination with policies and practices in other countries. Over the last several decades, while many developed countries have experienced decreased coupling between total freight activity (measured in tonne-km) and income, no major indication of decreased coupling between trucking and income was found. Rather, the coupling has been strengthened in many countries due to a continued increase in the share of trucking in total freight activity. The energy intensity of trucking has exhibited very large variation among the countries, and its recent international trends are mixed, providing greater challenges to reduce freight CO2 emissions. Modal shift toward rail away from truck presents a sizeable opportunity to reduce freight CO2 emissions, although the potential gain varies widely among the countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Eom, Jiyong & Schipper, Lee & Thompson, Lou, 2012. "We keep on truckin': Trends in freight energy use and carbon emissions in 11 IEA countries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 327-341.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:45:y:2012:i:c:p:327-341
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2012.02.040

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Devlin, Ger & Klvac, Radomir & McDonnell, Kevin, 2013. "Fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions of biomass based haulage in Ireland – A case study," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 55-62.
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    7. Whyte, Kieran & Daly, Hannah E. & Ó Gallachóir, Brian P., 2013. "Modelling HGV freight transport energy demand in Ireland and the impacts of the property construction bubble," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 245-251.
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    12. Luo, Xiao & Dong, Liang & Dou, Yi & Li, Yan & Liu, Kai & Ren, Jingzheng & Liang, Hanwei & Mai, Xianmin, 2017. "Factor decomposition analysis and causal mechanism investigation on urban transport CO2 emissions: Comparative study on Shanghai and Tokyo," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 658-668.
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    14. Mishra, Gouri Shankar & Zakerinia, Saleh & Yeh, Sonia & Teter, Jacob & Morrison, Geoff, 2014. "Mitigating climate change: Decomposing the relative roles of energy conservation, technological change, and structural shift," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 448-455.

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