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Freight Facts and Figures 2013

Table 5-17. Medium- and Heavy-Duty Truck Greenhouse Gas Emissions: 1990, 2005, and 2008-2011

Between 1990 and 2011, medium- and heavy-duty truck emissions rose by 74 percent, the largest percentage increase of any major transportation mode. An increase in truck freight movement is largely responsible for the rise in emissions over the last 21 years.

Table 5-17

Table in Excel format | Historical data

Millions of metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent

Blank cell. 1990 2005 2008 2009 2010 2011
Carbon dioxide (CO2) 230.1 396.0 (R)413.9 376.3 (R)390.0 388.3
Methane 0.2 (R)0.1 (R)0.1 0.2 (R)0.1 0.1
Nitrous Oxide 0.8 (R)1.1 (R)1.4 (R)1.1 1.1 1.0
Hydrofluorocarbons ≤0.05 11.1 (R)11.6 11.6 11.6 11.7
Total Truck 231.1 (R)408.4 (R)427.1 (R)389.2 (R)402.9 401.1
Total U.S. Transportation1 (R)1,556.3 (R)2,017.2 (R)1,920.8 (R)1,845.2 (R)1,856.9 1,833.7
Total U.S.1 (R)6,183.3 (R)7,195.3 (R)7,048.8 (R)6,586.6 (R)6,810.3 6,702.3
Truck share of transportation total (percent) (R)14.8 20.2 (R)22.2 (R)21.1 (R)21.7 21.9
Truck share of U.S. total (percent) 3.7 5.7 (R)6.1 5.9 5.9 6.0

Key: CO2 = carbon dioxide; R = revised.

1Transportation and U.S. totals include greenhouse gas emissions from military aircraft (12.6 million metric tonnes in 2011), "other" transportation, primarily lubricants (9.5 million metric tonnes in 2010), and electricity-related emissions. Emissions from international bunker fuels are not included.


CO2 equivalent is computed by multiplying the weight of the gas being measured by its estimated Global Warming Potential (GWP). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change developed the GWP concept to compare the ability of one GHG to trap heat in the atmosphere to another gas. Carbon comprises 12/44 of CO2 by weight. Medium- and heavy-duty trucks weigh 8,501 pounds and above. Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2011, EPA 430-R-13-001 (Washington, DC: April 12, 2013), tables 2-15 and ES-8, available at as of September 13, 2013.


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