Delivery More Efficient Than Individual Pickup, Says Study

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Results from Agribusiness Study Suggest High-Energy Use from Customer Pick-Ups.

A great deal of our business involves driving all over the Westchester County area. We try to save as much gas as possible. We're even looking into converting our delivery trucks to running on vegetable oil.

As the price of gas continues to climb, businesses and consumers are looking for ways to cut energy costs as part of their daily practices. For many, one simple decision is to limit the amount of personal driving time by patronizing businesses which offer free pick-up and delivery services.

According to a new study conducted by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Leopold Center Associate Director Rich Pirog claimed that "Even if all customers drove very fuel-efficient vehicles, we found that it is more efficient for a farmer or delivery person to distribute products to individual homes, rather than for customers to pick up products at centralized locations."

The ramifications of this study could very well touch upon every pick-up and delivery service. Says Andrew Rivkin, owner of Embassy Cleaners, a high-end couture dry cleaner in Larchmont, New York: "Most of our customers use our pick-up and delivery service, which we offer free of charge. Our clients try to minimize their driving as much as possible."

Rivkin also notes that he has implemented a voluntary engine-interruption policy among route drivers as part of Embassy's maximum-efficiency energy program, including energy-efficient steam traps and cost-effective lighting. "A great deal of our business involves driving all over the Westchester County area. We try to save as much gas as possible. We're even looking into converting our delivery trucks to running on vegetable oil."

Pirog also noted that "[t]otal energy use in the food system is the sum of production, processing, storage, distribution, and household/consumer energy…the role of consumers and the household is extremely critical in the food system, accounting for nearly one-third of the total energy used in the food system."

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Michael D'Elicio
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