BOWMANVILLE, Ont. - It's a difficult task lately to turn on the TV and not be bombarded with doomsday messages about the environment. Though issues like pollution and global warming have been used as ...
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. – It’s a difficult task lately to turn on the TV and not be bombarded with doomsday messages about the environment. Though issues like pollution and global warming have been used as leverage for sympathetic tree-hugging politicians for decades, it’s arguably thanks to two-time US presidential hopeful and former US vice-president Al Gore’s Oscar-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, that the public finally seems to be sitting up and taking notice.
Clumped into the mix of this newfound hyper-environmentalism is the trucking industry: plugging its Environmental Protection Agency-approved engines for 2007 and putting the final touches on ‘green’ lighting the mandatory use of speed limiters in the hopes of, for one thing, decreasing the amount of fuel trucks are burning in Ontario.
NAL Path Insurance has even thrown its hat into the ring with its new Web site greentrucker.com, as a source of environmental news and technology for the trucking industry (see pg. 12 for the full story). But what’s an individual driver to do? Not every trucker can achieve the far-reaching influence of the Bonos, Leos or David Suzukis of the world, so Truck News stopped by the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Bowmanville, Ont. to what drivers are doing on an individual basis to be green when they’re on the road.
Gerry Black, a driver with L. Hansen’s Vehicle Forwarding in Scarborough, Ont., says he tries to do his share by keeping a garbage bag in his truck at all times so nothing ever finds its way out of the window. Black says the litterbug mentality is far too prevalent in trucking circles.
“On the pull-offs (or) the ramps, you see all kinds of garbage. You see piss-bottles on the side of the road and they’re only there (because of) one type of people: truck drivers,” he says.
But when it comes to the “supposed” environmental benefits of the emissions-reducing 2007 engines and the forthcoming speed limiters, Black rejects both, dismissing them as propaganda.
“I think it’s a crock,” he told Truck News.
Sebastian Kruczek, a driver with Robert Transport out of Burlington, Ont., says the main thing he does to be “green” on the road is simply turning off his truck when he’s not in it. The driver of seven years says he also thinks generators should be standard on all new trucks for heating and cooling purposes.
Joe Cluett, driver for Ant-Pass Transport in Montreal, Que., says that on summer nights when it’s cool out, he shuts down his engine so it doesn’t have to run all night with the air conditioning on. “Most of our drivers let them run all night, just for the comfort,” he admits.
In spite of the environmental benefit, Cluett says he finds sleeping with the engine off calmer and quieter, which in turn helps him perform his duties properly the following day. Cluett says he also does his part for the environment by keeping his truck tuned, clean and leak-free.
Lee Heenan, an owner/operator based out of Oshawa, Ont. says he does his part for Mother Earth by driving under the speed limit, though the driver of 35 years admits he hasn’t really been influenced by the surge of environmentally-friendly politics having always kept his speed down.
Heenan says he not only drives slower because it burns less fuel and lessens his chance of getting in an accident; he also finds it more relaxing to drive slower.
“I just sit in the right lane and let them blow by,” he says.