Energy Transformation in the Logistics Transport Sector with Conor Molloy, AEMS

Interview with Conor Molloy, adviser, trainer, auditor and principal at Authentic Energy Management Services.

In this episode of Interlinks we talk to the independent energy management advisor, trainer, and auditor, Conor Molloy.

Conor specializes in transport energy management, and sits on the Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC)) panel of experts and he also works with the National Standards Authority of Ireland on standardization in the field of energy management and energy savings including the ISO/TC301 standard on net zero.

Through his company Authentic Energy Management Services (AEMS), Conor works with over 120 transport fleets in Ireland and abroad through the ECOfleet service operating under the EEOS or Energy Efficiency Operating Scheme.

Conor is also a member of Chartered Institute of Transport and Logistics in Ireland, the Freight Transport Association of Ireland, the Association of Energy Engineers, and an experienced Certified Measurement and Verification Professional.

Given the Irish government’s publication of their climate action plan 2021 to halve emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 and Ireland’s geographical reality of being an island off an island, transport emissions and how best to manage them from now on is a matter of urgent attention for every business operating here and so I am delighted to have had Conor with us to discuss the challenges ahead of us.

Click here to read transcript

Patrick Daly:                    

Hello, this is Patrick Daly and welcome to Interlinks. Interlinks is a program about connections, international business, supply chains, and globalization and the effects these developments have had on our life and work and our travel over recent times.

                                           Today on the show, we’ll be talking to the independent energy management advisor, trainer, and auditor, Conor Molloy. Conor specializes in transport energy management and sits on the Global Logistics Emissions Council panel of experts. And he also works with the National Standards Authority of Ireland on standardization in the field of energy management and energy savings, including the ISO/TC 301 standard on net zero. Through his company Authentic Energy Management Services, AEMS, Conor is working with over 120 transport fleets in Ireland and abroad through the ECOfleet Service operating under the EEOS, or Energy Efficiency Operating Scheme. Conor is also member of the Chartered Institute of Transport and Logistics in Ireland, the Freight Transport Association of Ireland, The Association of Energy Engineers and he’s an experienced Certified Measurement and Verification professional.

                                           So given the Irish government’s publication of their Climate Action Plan 2021, to halve emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. And given Ireland’s geographical reality of being an island off an island. And transport emissions and how best to manage them from now on. It’s a matter of some urgent attention for every business operating here. And so I’m delighted to have Conor with us to discuss the challenges ahead of us.

                                           So thank you very much, Conor, for joining us today. You’re very welcome.

Conor Molloy:                 

I’m delighted Patrick, thanks to the opportunity and the elongated intro. I should shorten that bio, yeah? [inaudible 00:01:46].

Patrick Daly:                    

Yeah. Well, I’m saying how do you find time for all of this? But there you go.

                                           So I think you Connor, like myself, you’ve been kind of knocking around since the head of the late eighties or so. So I’d be interested just to get an idea from you, an overview, about your career to date and how you evolved from… I think you were a marketing graduate initially. To being an authority on transport emissions.

Conor Molloy:                 

That’s a very… That’s a great question. Yeah, the… So I started off in the print industry. Moved into Kodak, but… You know, big yellow box people know. I was never really on the Kodak that people knew. I was on the… What we call the business side of things. So very much dealing with IT, banks. You know, heavy, heavy stuff really. And imaging. And then that took me into the IT industry. And from there we set up a distribution company for a couple of years off the back of Kodak’s transition into digital. So that kind of gave me a taste for literally, physically vans on the road. Stuff moving around. Warehousing, et cetera.

                                           Moved into a large software company as it was at the time called Corel. And we would’ve been a kind of internet version one. So we would’ve run out of Dublin… Oh, I’ve forgotten how many websites it was, but I think I remember 22 different languages. And we basically did everywhere outside of North America for them. But one of the challenges was how do you download like a CD’s worth of material if you’re on a narrow band connection? So we ended up getting involved in making CDs, distribution. So again. Back into distribution supply chain again.

                                           Got invited then to get involved in supply chain consultancy. Ended up going back into the internet again. And one of the projects I was involved in with a small Irish company, which is now part of Verizon but it was a small startup at the time, was we did a project which… We didn’t know it at the time, but it was the largest telematics project in Europe, if not the world. It was… I think it was 6500 vehicles or something. And this little known bunch of developers. I was only one of the commercial people putting together the software to do it and make that work. So that particular project… From memory, they said it saved a million pounds during a month in fuel. That’s what it was. It was that big a project.

                                           Now I… The fuel caught my ear. And the guys who owned the company thought more about labor and productivity. And as a result, we parted company and I set this business up in 2005. So 17 years at it now, helping fleets save fuel and emissions. That’s kind of the potted history. Yeah.

Patrick Daly:                    

Okay. So this business. AEMS. Authentic, I think the A stands for authentic.

Conor Molloy:                 

Just AEMS, for short. It’s a lot easier to say, yeah?

Patrick Daly:                    

AEMS, yeah. So what then are the range of services typically? Who are the client companies? And how are they better off when they’ve worked with you?

Conor Molloy:                 

Right. So for the vast majority of them they improve their liters per 100 kilometers, right? That they’re… Within the cohort of 120, we’ve probably got about 10 of them have good enough data to be able to talk about improving their performance in CO2 per ton kilometer, which is what we all want to get to. But the vast majority of them are still on liters per 100 kilometers because they don’t have the weights. So that’s the key performance metric. That’s what we focus in on. That’s what we help them with.

                                           For the most part it’s mentoring, as you and I would understand it. In the last two years, partly due to COVID, partly just due to demand. You know, so many people looking for services and support and education. We’re doing an awful lot more training. So 10, 20, 30 people in a virtual room these days, I suppose. Doing… Getting trained rather than one-on-one.

                                           So that’s been the biggest change we’ve seen in the last couple of years. But broadly speaking, still focused on the liters per 100 kilometers. Because we can measure liters, we can measure the kilometers. For the most part on the tonnage it’s kind of… It’s divorced. We’re… If you’d like, the job over the next 10 years is to bring those three numbers together. Into a liters or CO2 per ton kilometer. That’s the key performance metric that we’re working towards.

                                           So we… I suppose your traditional consultancy services. Advice, training, audit, measurement and verification, which is a particular role in the energy sector which gets you funding. We also do a bit of work for the government with SEAI as well, in helping out on various things.

                                           But you know, your traditional small consultancy business, I suppose, but my background in IT. What’s made it a little bit different and a little bit more scalable is that with the ECOfleet product, which was originally when it was first set up was a training product. It won an award from Dun Laoghaire–Rathdown. County Enterprise Board I think they were called back in the day.

                                           Now this, we’re talking a decade and a half ago now. But that was a traditional training product. It got adopted by SEAI, and now it’s a software platform that allows the… It basically automates the reporting mechanism, so that’s what the ECOfleet platform does. The training is still very much one-on-one or in classroom scenarios, but we’ve automated the data collection reporting side of things. I suppose that makes us a little bit different from your normal consultancies that’s out there.

Patrick Daly:                    

And what exactly is the issue then, in people getting from measuring by liters to measuring tons of CO2 equivalent?

Conor Molloy:                 

Right. So there’s… Thanks for that question because that wasn’t quite the tons I meant. It’s the tons of payload is what we were talking about.

Patrick Daly:                    


Conor Molloy:                 

So you’ll have a planning system that tells you how many tons you’re carrying, but the person who’s burning the fuel doesn’t necessarily know how many tons it actually is. So there’s a gap there. So you either have a scenario where the customer, one, knows how many tons over a planned distance. Or you have the haulier or carrier knows within a reasonable but not the exact amount what they’re carrying over the actual distance and the actual fuel burn.

                                           At the moment the two don’t meet. So if you like the big job internationally is to try and marry those two data sets in a coherent way. And there’s a lot of work going on around that all over the world in terms of standard setting and people putting their heads together about how to do it. Yeah.

Patrick Daly:                    

Okay. And you have this mantra or philosophy that I’ve heard you repeat quite a lot. Avoid, shift, improve.

Conor Molloy:                 


Patrick Daly:                    

Can you just set out with us what kind of strategy that encapsulates and how would that manifest in a typical transport business?

Conor Molloy:                 

Very good. Yeah. Again, great question. So I think the first thing to say is avoid, shift, improve is not mine. I would say pretty much all of the… Well, the relatively small number of transport consultants that I’ve met, who operate in this space, we all do avoid, shift, improve. It’s kind of our standard language. And it was… 1999 I think is when it was eventually put out. And you’ll have to forgive me and I’ll have to send you on the references to give it a proper citation for it. But 1999. It’s since been adopted by the IPCC, the UN, The International Transport Federation, and pretty much every consultant I’ve met in this space. So I think that’s the first thing to say. It’s not… We don’t own it. It’s not copyrighted. Everyone’s more than welcome to adopt the language.

                                           What does it mean?

                                           Avoid means avoiding travel or the need for travel in the first place. So if you can take, as an example, a shipment and you can shrink it or you can effectively… You know, in fact you and I are doing it here right now. If you look at ordinarily we would’ve gone to a studio. I think you said it was in Dundrum. We’re here doing it virtually. So we’re moving electrons now, not humans. We’re not moving molecules to meet each other. We’re just moving electrons. That’s what we’re doing. So that’s an avoid example.

                                           Shift means shifting mode. So the classic in the Irish conversation is moving from roads to rail. But I would also give the example, a lot of S&Es, particularly in Dun Laoghaire–Rathdown at the moment are moving from vans to cargo bikes. So that’s another mode shift. Likewise, you might move… You see someone like Maersk at a very… At a global level. They’re a shipping line based out of Denmark. One of the biggest on the planet with some of the biggest ships on the planet and they’re moving to rail. So they’re now moving goods… I think it’s a daily service now from China to Duisburg in Germany. So that’s shifting mode.

                                           Improvement is where most of us like to talk. It’s improving the performance of the supply chain, the vehicle, whatever it is we’re talking about. So for Joe Public. If you’re listening to us here now and you wonder what does he mean by that? You know, the first thing that jumps into most people’s mind is actually improve by buying an electric car, but that’s not actually what the improved piece meant in its original.

                                           There was an actual F at the end. So ASIf. And the small F at the end stood for change in your fuel.

                                           So effectively… Just to go back to improve. It would mean for most of us driving a vehicle today, a car, slow down. Save fuel, improve the performance of the vehicle on that journey and slow down. Okay? So it’s just a simple example. You know, if you want to know how much you save, it’ll be written on the dashboard, right? You don’t need a calculator or anything like that.

                                           And then the last. That small F is the fuel. That’s when you would switch from an internal combustion engine to a diesel. Or in the case of say a ship you might switch from heavy fuel oil to methanol I think is the current flavor of the month.

                                           The ASI and the small F at the end is a way of structuring your approach to make sure that you have covered all of the potential opportunities for savings in the supply chain, the project, or the fleet that you’re dealing with. That’s the idea behind it.

Patrick Daly:                    

You mentioned along the way the ECOfleet software. Either application or platform, I’m not sure which. So how does that work? What are the benefits of using it? And how do companies get involved if they want to use?

Conor Molloy:                 

Very good. So I suppose I’ll answer the last part of the question first. You could sign up with one of the partners. So that would be the Freight Transport Association, Smart Driving, Irish Exporters Association. And we have a couple of other smaller partners, including… Come in the UK where they have their own particular niches that they’re going after. So sign up through your partner. That’s the first thing.

                                           Once you do, then what you’re undertaking to do is you’re making a commitment to deliver on your own plans. So it’s a planning tool. It’s, if you like, a corporate memory tool. So if you look at your telematic system or your fuel management system or indeed your planning system, it might only hold six, 12 months worth of data. Sometimes even less than that but hopefully more than 12 months anyway. But what we’re looking for is continuous improvement year on year, every year over a decade, right? That’s the energy efficiency obligation scheme, the EEOS. That’s how it works. It’s sustained long term savings. So we’re feeding into that and effectively the ECOfleet platform, if you like, provides that corporate memory for that longevity. That year on year performance improvement.

                                           It asks for data once a quarter, so it’s not particularly onerous in terms of data collection. What it is onerous in is that you have to say what you did to save fuel. So you have to have a plan. You have to be able to look back and say, “Did we do what we said we were going to do?” And generally speaking you don’t. Because you know, the first… The last… No plan survives contact with reality. So it has to… Things won’t work. Some will, some won’t. Et cetera. Things won’t turn out quite the way you expect. That’s all perfectly okay. Just record all that along with your data and your evidence pack. So you’ve got to upload an evidence pack with it as well.

                                           And effectively, if I was to put… For those who are from a corporate background who were thinking about what does that sound like? You know it’s effectively ISO 50001, the International Energy Management Standard shrunk if you like. Resize or simplified down to a typical SME fleet operator. So that they can log in, do the basic bits that they need to do. See how they’re progressing year on year. Are they making or losing money in terms of their performance? And then also there’s a whole sort of self audit that they can do to just remind themselves of the kind of things they should be doing to save fuel.

Patrick Daly:                    

And is there a subscription or investment for using it?

Conor Molloy:                 

There is. It is a chargeable item outside of Ireland, but in the Republic of Ireland it is for the most part, like 99.9% of the time, it is funded by the oil industry as part of their obligations under the EEOS. And the oil industry brand name, you may hear of them every now and again is Enprova. E N P R O V A. It’s owned by what was known as the IPIA, the Irish Petroleum Industry Association, but is now known as Fuels For Ireland. And it’s run by an organization called R E I L, Retrofit Energy Ireland Limited, who are the… If not the biggest, one of the biggest retro fitters in the country that they… They would do a lot of funding.

                                           So the EEOS program is very large scale in terms of its results around the country, but you don’t necessarily see it as being a big project per se. Because all you see are the bits. Maybe you might hear an ad on the radio to get your boiler serviced. That might be one aspect in the background quietly. We’re working on the fuel performance element. The energy efficiency element of transport is what we’re working on.

                                           So for the vast majority of people that we work with. They’re buses, trucks, they’re heavy vehicles. Big, big fleet users. Some very large van fleets are also involved. As I say there, it’s a continuous improvement. They have to improve their liters per 100 kilometers to get paid, effectively. But it’s paid for by the oil industry as part of their obligations under the energy efficiency obligations scheme. EEOS is what it’s known as. You’ll want to key that Google. You’ll see the page comes up and you’ll see all the contact names. It’s all very open, very transparent. It’s audited. It’s checked every year.

Patrick Daly:                    

So the businesses that are involved, what kind of benefits are they getting out of it?

Conor Molloy:                 

So it’s interesting. I think I’d probably pick some older ones. So some of the people that we’ve been dealing with since 2012. If you chat to someone who’s relatively new to it, they’ll say, “Oh, we got paid.” Because they get paid for their fuel savings, which… And so one of the phrases you’ll see on the smart driving website is “Save fuel, get paid.”

Patrick Daly:                    

You save on fuel and you get paid?

Conor Molloy:                 

You get a bonus, yeah.

Patrick Daly:                    

Yeah, you get [crosstalk 00:14:05].

Conor Molloy:                  E

xactly. Yeah. That’s exactly correct. So if you were to go back to some of the customers that were there over the years. I was looking at one there recently. They were just at… Change of contact, new user, just getting them onto the system. And I think cumulatively over the period of time, they had avoided using 250,000 liters worth of fuel. And you’ve got to remember, they only avoided that once but they’ve avoided it continuously. So they’re doing… They’re still growing as a business. They’re improving the way they operate across the board in terms of just general business efficiencies and profitability. But they can see in ECOfleet how much fuel they’ve avoided using. So like as a one off without counting the cumulative effect, they are, if you like, 250,000 Euro to the good on their bottom line.

                                           Now if you chatted to them, they’ll say, “Yeah, we can feel it but in the accounts where exactly is it?” It’s always difficult to see it because you probably spent some of it somewhere else along the way as well. So they get a check in [inaudible 00:14:59], a bonus payment that really confirms that’s what they saved. Now they obviously… Quarter of a million didn’t happen overnight. They would’ve got that in increments over say a period of two or three years, but cumulatively that’s what they would be ahead by. And that’s a sort of medium size truck fleet. That wouldn’t be a massive fleet by any means.

Patrick Daly:                    

So they reduce emissions, they save on fuel and potentially they get paid as well. So thinking, why would any transport company not get involved? So what are the challenges or obstacles that they face that maybe [crosstalk 00:15:24]?

Conor Molloy:                 

So I think the number one thing is they don’t want to share data. Right? So one of the key things that’s happening in the industry across the world is that carriers and buyers, the shippers, are having to share data. So that brings us back to where we started there to bridging the gap between one data set and another data set. Making sure that everyone’s using common units, language, et cetera. So that’s a journey that the whole transport industry is on. That’s what the Global Logistics Missions Council is doing effectively. It’s not just helping people report their CO2 but making sure everyone’s using common units, common languages, et cetera.

                                           So if any of the listeners are on the CDP, the Carbon Disclosure Project. That uses the GLEC, the G L E C language and numbers and nomenclature, et cetera, to make sure we’re talking a common language.

                                           Bring that back to a small haulier outbreaking here in Ireland. You know, they’re struggling. They’ve got the price of fuel to deal with, they have a driver shortage, not to mention the traffic, the weather, and all the usual day to day things that happen to them. And then on top of that someone like me is coming along and saying, “Look, we’d like you to send us in your data once a quarter for you to get paid.” So there is… The company needs, if you like, a moment of… To press pause and have a chance to sort of reassess how they’re operating their business. Assess us to make sure they trust us. Who are we? Answer all those kind of questions as well. So if you’re really busy, it’s difficult. And a lot of them are really, really busy. So I think that’s probably the number one barrier.

                                           The second thing then is that it does take effort to save fuel. You have to put time and management effort into it. For the most part, the areas that they’re saving fuel in is the low hanging fruit. You know they… When we first started out it would be things like air kits, right? It would be idling shut… Auto idling shut down. All these kind of basic items that they should be doing and they know they should be doing but they’ve probably forgotten. Or they haven’t checked recently that when the vehicle came back from its services it’s still set up the way that they wanted it set up. That kind of thing.

                                           Nowadays, certainly with the cohort that we deal with, most of that low-hanging fruit is gone and we’re now into that… Into the…

                                           I’m sorry, when I say it’s gone, it’s now fixed. It’s sustained. Like they have their air kits. They’ve taken off all of their spot lamps and their air horns. And they’ve maybe given it a new paint job or whatever. And now they’re into the harder stuff like tire pressures.

                                           And the truck technology is beginning to help them out there now with automated tire pressure monitoring systems. The tire suppliers are beginning to get good at giving them reports on the state of their trucks. There are people offering them automated ways to check on the tire pressure. So people often look at me and go tire pressures. Are you kidding that can’t be worth that much? But if I go back to the person who was saving a quarter of a million liters, that was a 10% improvement of performance over a number of years. So, you know, they didn’t change the world. It was an incremental change. And people would look at tire pressure and say, “Sure, but what can that be worth?”

                                           And you know, maybe 1.5%, 2% if it’s just the tire pressure alone. But actually there’s two or three other elements. There’s not only the tire pressure, which has to be maintained week in week out and correctly. They also have to choose the most energy efficient tire. Now I’m not a salesman for the tire industry. They can do this themselves. But the key point is that your choice of tire in terms of fuel efficiency, and it is labeled. That’s just like your fridge or your TV when you’re buying it. There’s a label there. Then maintaining the tire pressure. That will do a couple of things. It will, number one, improve your fuel performance. You will see. Over a period of time you’ll get anything up to a 5% fuel saving from those two actions.

                                           Now if you were to list the manufacturers and indeed the EU commission they’d be telling you it’s maybe 10% or more, but in the real world we’ll call it around 5%. But on top of that, what the operators will tell us is that by maintaining tire pressures and looking after the tires and managing them, and actually actively managing them, they get much, much longer life. So you’ll see people who are on 110,000 kilometers on a single tire now getting 180,000 kilometers on a tire. And they’re kind of going, “Hang on a second. I didn’t buy another tire as soon as I expected to.” And that’s a chunk of change that they notice.

                                           So it is… To a large extent you’re always measuring but you can’t measure the absence of something. You’re kind of… You’re calculating the absence of something.

Patrick Daly:                    

When you see protests like we’ve seen. Sometimes you see it coming through the media or sometimes you see actual protests in the streets. I think we’ve had two in the last number of months and there may be more coming. Do you think to yourself, “You know, there’s a lot of low hanging fruit that these guys have not gone after yet.” And do you feel critical of them? Or how do you… What kind… Does it generate kind of mixed feelings with you when you see that happening?

Conor Molloy:                 

I think a certain amount of frustration to be honest, Patrick. And the reason for that is if you have a contract that doesn’t allow you to increase your rates in line with the price of fuel, there’s a problem with your buyer as much as there is with you as a businessman. You need… If your costs go up you should be putting up your price. Now obviously there’s always a lag. You know, we would probably all of us say, “There’s no lag when it comes to the price of fuel.” It goes up a lot quicker than it comes down, et cetera. But the reality is we know the trajectory of the carbon tax. The carbon tax is only a small component of a liter of diesel compared to the excise taxing example. The vat. And then the underlying costs of the diesel that’s coming through.

                                           So I think for me, I can absolutely get it that they’re too busy. They’re too stressed. They’re too small an operator. It’s very frustrating for them that the price of… That they can’t pass on the price of fuel. But really they’re going to have to start passing on the price of fuel costs in their contracts and their rates. And it’s going to go up and it’s going to go down and it’s part of what they’re going to have to do.

                                           And you’ll notice with some of the more sophisticated buyers in the country, they do include price. Diesel price escalation clauses. They do allow for this because they see it. They know it at a strategic level. Like we know what the trajectory is in carbon tax. We don’t know what’s going to happen with diesel. It’s gone up. It’ll probably sure as hell go back down again. Probably not as much as we’d all like it to, but it probably will go down again once this current crisis is over.

                                           So it’s very difficult when you’re a small business to be able to take it into account. So I can absolutely understand them venting their frustration, but absolutely protest is the wrong way to go. You’re basically creating the wrong image for the industry. The image… The industry built up a fantastic reputation for itself during COVID in terms of putting the food on the shelves, getting the supply chain. People really realized how vital trucks were for a change. They really were in the limelight in the right place. And now that. The protests are taking away from that.

                                           So I think while I understand the frustrations, I would absolutely, and I… Find me on Twitter saying something similar that, “Look, lads. This is going to be the reality from here on end. Diesel is going to keep on going up. You shouldn’t be entering into contracts that don’t allow you to escalate in line with some evidential means.” Like you… We all know the price of diesel is going up. You can find that out online as quick as you can off your invoice or whatever the case may be. So you should be able to pass that cost on. And in turn all the way on onto us consumers because that’s part and parcel of how the whole thing is operating, yeah?

Patrick Daly:                    

We’re moving up a level maybe to the country level. So what are the… And I mentioned kind of in the intro about having to have our emissions by 2030 and get to net zero by 2050. So what are the key milestones and targets that Ireland has to hit along the way? And where are you on the optimistic to pessimistic spectrum regarding our chances of doing so?

Conor Molloy:                 

Yeah. Okay. So I think we’re scratching the surface, right? Me and my business, my 120 odd customers, cumulatively avoided 89,000, 89,500 tons of CO2. That’s the figure, right? Which sounds huge. It’s a drop in the ocean. Sorry to say that, but that’s the reality of it. That’s a lot of hard work by a lot of people.

                                           If you actually look at what happened with COVID last year, and then you look at the figures. People look at trucks and say, “They’re big fuel users.” They are. A typical truck. When you see it go past you, is using as much fuel in energy terms as a small factory. Right? So just think about that. They are serious machines. They’re doing an awful lot of work. Right? Now, that’s fine. What can we do to make them more efficient?

                                           And I’ve heard various politicians say, “We’ll replace them with electric vans.” Okay, hang on a second, lads. That’s 10 vans, 10 drivers for one truck. That doesn’t make any sense from a road safety point of view, as much as from an energy efficiency or emissions point of view.

                                           So we need to get real about what the significant challenges and opportunities are. And the biggest single challenge in the Republic of Ireland is us in our cars driving. 40% of transport emissions in Ireland are from cars. That’s us. All of us, myself included right? Now, if you stop and look at that and go, “Okay, how optimistic am I?” If you’d asked me a year or two ago, I’d say, “Yeah, no. It’s a big ask.” But if you look at what COVID has done. COVID reduced… Let me see here. I have it written down for you somewhere. But COVID reduced petrol sales by something like 25% and diesel sales by 13%.

                                           And the overall impact in terms of energy. With some… Energy reduction and energy emissions for everything. That’s aviation… You know, the works. Was minus 6%. We need to do minus 7% in emissions per year every year to 2030. That’s across the board. That includes agriculture, right? And agriculture is the biggest emitter by far. It’s 37%. Whereas transport as a whole, as of last year, is 17% or something like that. And within that trucks are about 20 odd percent, right?

                                           So trucks are big. They’re big, big users. But the one thing about a truck is it doesn’t move unless it’s making money. At least it shouldn’t move unless it’s making money. Whereas us in our cars, for the most part, you’ve got a four, five seat. One and a ton, two ton vehicle. That’s basically moving usually one person. On average one and a half people.

                                           And in Ireland we often complain about the cost of transport. You know, the EU publishes figures. You can Google them as quick as I can. The percentage of household income that goes on transport. And it always shocks me how often and how little people realize or how little people think about how much they spend. But if you look at the CSO household budget survey from 2016. It says that we spent more on transport than we did on food. The average household at all income levels. Now that’s nuts. I… For me, food’s more important than transport. You know, I like my food. I like my car. I like driving. But you know, really, we shouldn’t be doing that. Now we’re about mid-range when it comes to Europe, in terms of that spend. Right? We’re not the worst, but we’re certainly not the best. And we need to stop and think about where our priorities lie.

                                           And so when people say to me, “Oh, but you can’t be saying this.” And all the rest. All the usual kind of things come back at you. But okay, fine. An average Irish car in 2020, which is the year of COVID, traveled over 16,000 kilometers. All right? The average in Europe was 11,000. So our cars traveled 45% further than the European average. Now that’s our money. And we’re… It’s only going one place and that’s off the island. It’s going over to Russia, which is where we get the majority of our diesel and the Middle East where we [inaudible 00:25:17] where we get the majority of our petrol.

                                           Now there’s other experts and other people out there will be more expert about this than I am. But in terms of optimism, COVID has shown me that we can change. We can make a difference and people have felt it in their pockets and they’re going to try and hang onto that money. And I think that’s what gives me optimism in terms of the overall carbon footprint from transport.

                                           But fundamentally, and this is something that a lot of us miss in conversation, we live on an island. This idea of flying. That we can’t fly. Well, it’s very difficult when 90% of the foot… Of the passenger traffic gets on and off the island by aircraft to say that we can’t fly. It’s a completely different thing when you’re in Europe. I’ll happily use train line and the tickets and run around Europe on rail line. But it’s difficult to do. To get on and off the island in the first place, so… And we need those aircraft for transporting cargo, like our exports. They go in the belly. So we’ve got to… It’s got to be a balance there to some extent about what we choose to go after.

                                           And certainly for me. Anyone who watches me on Twitter will know I’ve a bee in my bonnet over SUVs. But you can have your car. You can use your car. But just stop and think about it. Go back to what I said earlier to you about avoid, shift, and improve. Many, many journeys that we make in our cars are very short. They’re less than two kilometers. You’ll be healthier, fitter, if you walk or you cycle the same thing. You might even be quicker. Certainly in the case of Dublin City you’d be quicker. And Galwick and Galway. So that avoid piece, you can apply that to your car.

                                           Shifting mode. Get the bike. Get the electric bike. Whatever it is. Electric bike sales, I believe are 10 to one to electric vehicles. So if you said to me, “Cause for optimism?” Electric bikes is the cause for optimism. Will we have whatever the figure was, 800,000, 900,000, electric cars on the road by 2030? Which I think is the target. If we keep going the way we’re going, which is doubling the sales of electric vehicles every year. Yes, the math is simple. That’s what’ll happen. It’s compound interest. That’s how it’ll work. But you know, a lot…

                                           We tend to spend all our time talking about improving the car we have. Switching to electric, et cetera. Really we have to get out of those cars. That’s really the key thing. That’s the fundamental. And when we do that as a society, we’ll feel it in our pockets. We’ll be spending less money on fuel, less money on transport. And more money, hopefully, on the things that matter to us.

                                           Long-winded answer, Patrick, but I hope it helps you out.

Patrick Daly:                    

Thanks. Yeah. Well, yeah. Interesting answers. You’re kind of… It’s kind of a mixed picture, isn’t it?

Conor Molloy:                 

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Patrick Daly:                    

And where can people find out more about you, about your work, and how they contact you?

Conor Molloy:                 

Oh, thanks very much. I think professionally, I would send you to With my Al Gore climate reality hat on I would say go to Twitter and you’ll find me at Conor Molloy. Gets a little bit heated at times as it does on Twitter. There’s a bit of argy bargy going on about flights versus SUVs at the moment, but it’s good fun. And you’ll find me on LinkedIn.

                                           But I think if any fleet is listening, an SME or otherwise that wants to be… Partake in the EEOS program that was mentioned earlier and took up a fair bit of the airtime, Patrick. Just go to or to and you’ll see the save fuel, get paid button in the top right.

                                           So those are the quick buttons you can click on to access the… What we were [inaudible 00:28:14] talking about, if I can put it that way. But yeah, key Conor Molloy. I’m not the only person on Google, but I should pop up there if you pop my name in there in relation to a AEMS or Twitter.

Patrick Daly:                    

Thanks, Conor. It’s been an absolute pleasure. And I wish you the very best for the future.

Conor Molloy:                 

Thank you very much indeed, Patrick. And I wish everyone who is listening the best with their climate action this year because this is certainly the year for.

Patrick Daly:                    

Thanks also to our listeners for tuning in. And any comments or questions just drop me a line on P D A L Y. That’s So keep well and stay safe. Until next time.

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Patrick Daly Interlinks Podcast

Interlinks is a programme about the connections, relationships and supply chains, that underpin the globalisation of our modern world.

In each programme, we interview people from around the world including entrepreneurs, executives, academics, diplomats and politicians to get their unique perspective on globalisation as it has affected them both personally and professionally.

There is a little bit of history, a dash of economics, a sprinkling of business and an overlay of personal experience both from me and from my interviewees from around the world.

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