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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
Energy policy 2012 v.45 pp. 327-341
carbon, carbon dioxide, developed countries, energy, freight, greenhouse gas emissions, income, issues and policy, land transportation
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.