Technology drove the newscycle last week with the 2018 Consumer Electronics show where new tractor models were debuted. Hydrogen, carbon fiber, and carbon nanotubes saw advancement in California while Ohio instituted an alternative fuel grant program. Production of crude oil is expected to increase through 2019 while prices will flatten in the near term.
Trucking Technology Takes Center Stage at 2018 Consumer Electronics Show
The Consumer Electronics Show has increasingly been an opportunity for automotive companies to show off their latest and greatest technologies. This year the trucking industry’s presence was notable. Toyota, Peterbilt and Kenworth were some of a few companies offering up novel ideas for the transportation industry at the show. This included Toyota’s e-Palette, a concept vehicle that may function as a parcel delivery truck. The sister companies of Peterbilt and Kenworth presented a level 4 autonomous vehicle (Peterbilt’s Model 579 tractor) and a hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered day cab tractor (Kenworth’s T860). As a level four autonomous vehicle, the Peterbilt 579 is automated to perform all safety-critical functions and handle roadway conditions for a full trip. The Kenworth T860 is impressive in its own right, and uses compressed hydrogen gas and air to produce electricity that is used to drive the vehicle, while only emitting water vapor from its tailpipe. The fuel cell technology can be used to move the vehicle or power the lithium-ion batteries for later use. The Consumer Electronics Show is yet another sign of the brisk pace of tech adoption across the trucking and greater transportation industries.
Trucking Industry Struggles With Growing Driver Shortage
The American Trucking Association states nearly 70 percent of goods consumed in the United States are moved by truck and the industry will need to add 900,000 more drivers to meet demand. Demographics offer some explanation for the shortage; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average age of a truck driver is 55 years-old and only six percent of drivers are women. Derek Leathers, the CEO of Werner Enterprises offered his take on the shortage, adding it is likely perception-driven. “Being a truck driver was something that carried a certain level of honor with it,” he said. “They were kind of the ‘knights of the road,’ and we lost that somewhere along the way, and I think often trucks are portrayed as sort of this negative reality on the road.” Leathers also stated the growing demand for drivers has significantly boosted drivers’ salaries and benefits. Drivers’ salaries are up 17 percent in recent years, with new drivers earning near $50,000.
In Other News
California-based utility Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) has announced it is partnering with a development team to advance a new process that converts natural gas to hydrogen, carbon fiber, and carbon nanotubes.
The American Trucking Association states that nearly 70 percent of goods consumed in the United States are moved by truck and the industry will need to add 900,000 more drivers to meet demand. Demographics offer some explanation for the shortage; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average age of a truck driver is 55 years-old and only six percent of drivers are women. Derek Leathers, the CEO of Werner Enterprises stated Werners pay for drivers is up 17 percent in recent years, with new drivers earning near $50,000.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized rules for a state alternative fuel vehicle conversion grant program and announced the availability of $5 million in funding.
Peterbilt Motors Company packed up Model 579, flush with autonomous technologies, and headed west to the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in LAS VEGAS, the largest electronics show in North America and the launch pad for new technology products.
Trucking and logistics have grabbed a share of the spotlight this year at the Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas. None, though, has grabbed more attention than Toyota’s E-Palette concept and alliance that includes such big names as Amazon, DiDi, Mazda, Pizza Hut and Uber.
The US Energy Information Administration’s January release of its Short-Term Energy Outlook forecasts brent crude to average $60 per barrel in 2018 and $61 per barrel during 2019. In both 2018 and 2019, EIA expects total global crude oil production to be slightly greater than global consumption, with U.S. crude oil production increasing more than any other country.
According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, electric cars could displace 8 million barrels per day of oil consumption, or 25 percent of current OPEC production by 2040. Royal Dutch Shell Plc is taking steps toward the future of electric cars with its recent acquisition of a UK power company and is looking to quickly expand its footprint as an electricity provider.