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Living Green

Grocery home delivery services save on fuel costs, vehicle emissions

Grocery home delivery services save on fuel costs, vehicle emissions
This diagram shows how a delivery truck can save on mileage when compared with personal vehicles driving to and from a store. Image from University of Washington

Staying in and having your groceries delivered to your home is the greener alternative to driving to the store, finds a study from the University of Washington.

Using a grocery delivery service can cut carbon dioxide emissions by at least half, found university engineers.

“A lot of times, people thing they have to inconvenience themselves to be greener, and that actually isn’t the case here,” said Anne Goodchild, U.W. associate professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Trucks filled to capacity from grocery stores, delivering to customers clustered in neighborhoods, can cut down emissions drastically when compared with individual household trips to the store, they found.

Ms. Goodchild, along with U.W. doctoral candidate in civil and environmental engineering, Erica Wygonik, looked at grocery delivery services, using Seattle as a test case.

In their analysis, they found delivery service trucks produced 20 to 75 percent less carbon dioxide than the corresponding personal vehicles driven to and from a grocery store.

They also discovered significant savings for companies – 80 to 90 percent less carbon dioxide emitted – if they delivered based on routes that clustered customers together. A route such as this saves fuel, resulting in savings for the operator as well as emissions reductions.

Given the emissions reductions possible through grocery delivery services, the researchers postulated that government of industry leaders should consider incentives for consumers to order groceries online and save on trips to the store.

In the U.S., customers have increasingly more grocery delivery services to choose from, with Google unveiling a shopping delivery service experiment in the San Francisco Bay area. Other examples of grocery delivery services are AmazonFresh, FreshDirect and Geniusdelivery. Safeway also offers a delivery service in many areas is the U.S. – EcoSeed Staff

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