Fuel Consumption, Emissions Estimation, and Emissions Cost Estimates Using Global Positioning Data
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The methodology laid out in this paper shows that typical operational data from vehicle fleets monitored by a global positioning system (GPS) can be used to estimate heavy-duty diesel vehicle (HDDV) emissions, thereby enabling waste managers and governing bodies to internalize the responsibility for socioenvironmental costs traditionally absorbed by external parties. Although municipal solid waste (MSW) collection vehicles are the subjects of this particular study, the methodology presented here can be applied to any fleet of vehicles monitored by GPS. This study indicates that MSW collection trucks may be considerably less fuel efficient in the field than published values for HDDV fuel efficiency suggest. The average fuel efficiency of one MSW collection truck was estimated as 0.90 +/- 0.44 km/L (2.12 +/- 1.03 mi/gal). This same truck would generate approximately 42 metric tons of CO2 equivalents/yr, which is comparable to the greenhouse gas emissions of a large sport utility vehicle driving six times the distance, in town, for a year. In terms of the impacts such emissions have, projections for the monetary cost of emissions are available but highly variable. They suggest that the external monetary costs of emissions range between 6 and 39% of the annual fuel costs for the studied MSW collection truck. The results of this study indicate a need for further research into valuation of the hidden, external costs of emissions, borne by local and global socioecological communities. The possible implications of this result include poorly advised fleet procurement decisions and underestimation of MSW collection fleet emissions.
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