Improving Fuel Efficiency and Reducing Emissions of Trucks in China

September 13, 2013

  • In Guangdong, the World Bank is helping to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions of trucks, which use 30% more fuel than in OECD countries.
  • The project promotes fuel-saving technologies, modern logistics brokerage practices and efficient methods of transport to China’s road freight industry.
  • This is one example of how the Bank and China are expanding collaboration to tackle the threat of climate change.

In China, trucks are a major source of fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

The road freight industry accounts for more than 15% of China’s total oil consumption. But the fuel efficiency of trucks running on roads in the country is 30% lower than in OECD countries.

The Guangdong Green Freight Demonstration Project, launched in 2011, aims to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions of the truck fleets in Guangdong Province and demonstrate the benefits to other provinces. The project is a partnership between the Guangdong Provincial Government, the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility.

Climate change is a top priority for the Bank, and China is a vital partner in addressing this challenge. Currently, about half of 125 active projects in China focus on the climate change agenda. President Jim Yong Kim is visiting China on September 15 to discuss ways to expand collaboration.

Green truck technologies

This project is one example of how the Bank is working with China and other partners to find solutions. Demonstrating global good practice, a similar project has been introduced in Brazil as well.

Under the Guangdong project, fuel-saving technologies are being made more accessible for trucking companies to achieve better fuel economy and environmental performance.

Participating companies can receive training and an incentive package including a price rebate on the purchase of the technology and a performance-based award to help them purchase, install and monitor the use of “green” technologies such as tires with less friction, better aerodynamics, and driver behaviors diagnostic systems. A GPS-linked monitoring device will be installed on each participating truck to collect real-time fuel consumption data.  

Xingbang Logistics, a participating company with a fleet of 800 trucks, is installing the monitoring device, which truck drivers say helps them shift to a more eco-friendly driving style.

 "It has been a great help. It helped me save gas," said Yang Shibiao, a truck driver at Xingbang Logistics.

Zhan Yue, a dispatcher at the company, explained how the devices work. “For example, in the central control room, we can see when drivers use air-conditioning or drive too fast. If we see the air-conditioning is on when the speed is at zero, we’ll ask the driver to turn off the air conditioning if the truck is not moving,” she said.

Xingbang Logistics also uses the data collected via the devices in their training programs. “We show the data to our drivers on a weekly basis. With the data, they became more aware of how their own driving style affects fuel consumption and therefore more willing to make a change,” said Long Zuo, fleet director at Xingbang.

Upgraded logistics brokerage

For self-employed truck driver Wang Feng, getting clients was a challenge.  

For Wang Guangwei, who runs a small distributing business, finding reliable carriers to transport his goods was also not easy.

The two met in Lin’an, a logistics brokerage information center that matches distributors with truck drivers.

But in China, there are still very few platforms like this – the trucking industry is fragmented, and lack of modern logistics brokerage practices caused large amounts of “empty backhaul”, meaning a truck carrying goods to a destination and then returning empty to the starting point.

Under the Green Freight project, the Guangdong government is helping Lin’an expand its business, especially online, to set up a model in the province.

A mobile app recently developed by Lin’an enables truck drivers to search for freights on mobile phones. “With it, I can easily search for freights even when I am on the road,” said Wang Feng.

And “truckers who don’t come to the center can get the information online and call me, which gives me more choice,” said Wang Guangwei, the distributor.

" It has been a great help. It helped me save gas. "

Yang Shibiao

a truck driver at Xingbang Logistics


Li Xiubin, a truck driver with E-road Logistics, returned to the warehouse of his company with a loaded trailer.

He pulled the trailer to its destination, dropped it, drove a short distance to pick up another trailer, and hooked up to it. In five minutes he was out for a new delivery.

 “When I was driving back to the warehouse, the trailer was pre-loaded for me already,” he explained. “I just need to hook the tractor to it. I don’t have to wait for loading. It saves time!”

The project is also helping trucking companies in Guangdong Province to adopt this "drop and hook" method for increased efficiency and a smaller carbon footprint.

Wang Yamin, vehicle repair manager of E-road, listed some advantages of the transport method. “First, it reduces empty backhaul. Second, it saves resources. We use fewer tractors to transport more trailers. Third, it increases efficiency for deliveries.  With the same number of tractors, we are now able to deliver 20-30% more goods,” he said.


Since 2011, the project has provided training to 340 trucking company managers, 1,200 drivers and 85 government officials; launched a website to share green freight knowledge and experience within the province and across China; organized an international green freight trade fair; and conducted studies on policies related to the freight industry.

With escalating fuel costs, increasing fuel efficiency has become a major goal for any trucking company. This goal coincides with China’s need to reduce emissions and tackle air pollution. The Green Freight Demonstration Project will help accelerate the efforts to lessen the environmental impact of trucks while moving the nation’s freight more efficiently than ever.