The food truck industry is good for a quick, cheap meal, or even a gourmet meal, but emissions from these portable feasts are a growing concern, given the estimated 3 million trucks that were on the road in 2012. New York state has launched an initiative to put 500 energy-efficient, solarpowered carts on city streets this summer.
A pilot program gives food truck vendors the opportunity to lease the ecocarts for five years at little to no extra cost. They are expected to cut fossil fuel emissions by 60 percent and smog-creating nitrous oxide by 95 percent. If the technology was implemented nationwide, it could spare the atmosphere an enormous carbon footprint.
Conventional mobile vendors may spend more than $500 a month on fossil fuels; in addition to the gasoline consumed in driving, truck lighting and refrigeration systems are powered by diesel generators and propane fuels the grills, sometimes all running up to 10 hours a day. The annual nationwide load can add up to hundreds of billions of pounds of carbon dioxide per year.