The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently honored 40 companies in the freight industry with the 2012 SmartWay Excellence Awards for achievements in moving freight more efficiently while reducing carbon dioxide and other harmful emissions.

Since 2004, SmartWay partners have benefited from $6.5 billion in fuel savings while strengthening U.S. energy independence by saving 55 million barrels of oil. The SmartWay Excellence Award winners have proven that it is possible to move more goods over more miles with lower emissions, less energy and at a lower cost.

"Recipients of this year's SmartWay Excellence Awards are reaping the business benefits and environmental rewards of cutting petroleum use in their transportation operations," said Gina McCarthy of the Office of Air and Radiation. "By participating in EPA's SmartWay Transport Partnership and working to reduce costs and emissions, these companies are moving our nation forward to a healthier and more secure future."

The winning organizations are leaders in reducing freight transportation emissions through technological innovation and are taking advantage of SmartWay strategies and tools. The EPA launched SmartWay in 2004 to help improve the freight industry’s environmental performance. SmartWay’s clean-air achievements include reducing 23.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, 478,000 tons of nitrogen oxides and 22,000 tons of particulate matter to help protect the health and environment of the nation.

SmartWay was recently upgraded to include enhanced reporting tools that enable industry to track freight operations' energy and environmental efficiency. In addition to carriers having the ability to both calculate and adopt strategies for lowering their transportation energy use and carbon emissions, shipper and logistics partners are now able to optimize their carriers and mode selection.

The 2012 SmartWay Excellence Award recognition was held in conjunction with the American Trucking Association’s Management Conference and Exhibition in Las Vegas, Nev., and the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals’ annual conference in Atlanta, Ga.

For more information, visit www.epa.gov/smartway.