Consumers Want More Miles Per Gallon for Big Trucks and Support Higher Fuel Economy Standards

Lower fuel costs from new standards are a win-win saving money for both consumers and the trucking industry

Washington, D.C.– Consumers support higher fuel-economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks because trucks that go farther on each gallon of fuel will make goods and services cheaper, leaving more money in the pockets of American families and businesses alike.

That’s according to official comments by the Consumer Federation of America filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and Environmental Protection Agency as part of the rule-making process for increasing national fuel-economy standards for these vehicles. The comment period officially closes today.

Link to CFA’s official comments.

“This is a key consumer issue, and NHTSA and EPA are on the right track,” said Mark Cooper, CFA’s research director. “The freight truck industry is dripping with potential to increase their miles per gallon. And these performance standards are an effective way to realize that potential.”

Consumers understand that when it comes to fuel costs for trucking, they ultimately pay the freight, according to CFA’s most recent poll on the issue. “Our survey found that over 90 percent of Americans understand that the fuel costs of medium- and heavy-duty trucks transporting consumer goods are passed on to them. And nearly three-quarters of respondents supported requiring manufacturers to increase the fuel economy of these vehicles,” said Jack Gillis, CFA’s director of public affairs and vehicle expert.

CFA calculates that the average family spends almost $1,200 per year on indirect freight truck fuel costs passed on to consumers. “Big truck fuel costs the average household almost as much as they spend on electricity,” said Cooper.

“The agencies need to establish a standard that manufacturers can meet and is ambitious enough to achieve meaningful fuel economy improvements and significant consumer savings,” said Gillis.

“While NHTSA and EPA have done a good job with their analysis, the one big question we have is why the gas-mileage standards aren’t even higher,” Cooper said. “As it is, the projected benefits of the proposed standards are about six times higher than the projected costs, over time. So they are leaving a lot of fuel savings on the table. We urge them to further examine whether or not more savings are achievable.”

CFA believes that the medium- and heavy-duty truck fuel-economy standards will address the market’s failure to close the efficiency gap, as standards have done with other consumer durables, including cars, light-duty trucks, and home appliances such as refrigerators and water heaters. Like those successful standards, the proposed rules are long-term, technology- and product-neutral, address the needs of consumers and industry, and promote healthy competition that benefits manufacturers and consumers alike.

“The industry will benefit. Consumers will save. And the economy will thrive. It’s a win-win-win,” Cooper said.

The Consumer Federation of America is a national organization of more than 250 nonprofit consumer groups that was founded in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education.