ATA supports proposed greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency regulations

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) appreciates the Obama Administration’s commitment in developing first-ever national fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emission standards for heavy- and medium-duty trucks.

“Through ATA’s ongoing dialogue with both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT), we are encouraged that the proposal takes into account the wide diversity of operations within our industry and the need to build flexibility into the rulemaking process,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said. “We are pleased by the Administration’s focus on reducing carbon output and improving fuel efficiency from our sector and we look forward to working with both agencies throughout the rulemaking process.”

The proposed standards will be phased-in and will achieve from 7 to 20 percent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption from 2010 baseline Class 8 tractors. These targets, which will be achieved from both engine and truck advancements, will largely employ off-the-shelf technologies such as low-rolling resistance tires, improved aerodynamics, reduced idling and other measures currently recognized by EPA’s SmartWay Program.

Incremental cost increases for combination tractors are projected to be $5,900 in 2014 while other truck categories are expected to see minimal price increases in the range of $200-$400 per vehicle. Trailers are not currently being addressed in the proposal.

“The trucking industry strongly supports fuel economy standards that are both economically and technologically feasible as one of several preferred methods in reducing its carbon footprint,” ATA Vice President and Environmental Counsel Glen Kedzie said. “We believe the regulations proposed by the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can be attained through technologies currently available to motor carriers with expected returns on investments of between 12 to 24 months.”

In addressing fuel efficiency standards, the rules touch upon two of the six pillars in ATA’s Sustainability Plan released in 2008 – namely, promoting national fuel economy standards for trucks and participating in the EPA’s SmartWay Program. Other components of ATA’s Sustainability Plan to lower trucking’s carbon footprint include:

  • Federal laws requiring trucks to have speed governors set at no more than 65 mph or below, and a national speed limit of 65 mph for all vehicles;
  • Allowing more productive truck weights and combinations, which safely improve fuel economy;
  • Reducing idling by updating the interstate system to reduce traffic congestion; and
  • Using new technologies to reduce other engine idling.

In May 2010, leaders of the ATA joined President Obama at the White House for his signing of the Presidential Memorandum directing the DOT and the EPA to develop national standards for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions for heavy- and medium-duty trucks. The President’s announcement effectively endorsed the ATA Sustainability Task Force recommendation that called for national fuel economy standards for trucks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“ATA’s Sustainability Task Force set out in 2007 to have the trucking industry become leaders on fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions issues,” Past ATA Chairman Tommy Hodges said. Hodges chaired the Task Force and serves as Chairman of Titan Transfer Inc., a trucking company based in Shelbyville, Tenn. “As President Obama said at the White House in May, this could be a model of industry and government cooperation in developing beneficial regulations.”

ATA reaffirmed its support for truck fuel efficiency standards last week by adopting a new energy policy that promotes national fuel economy standards for trucks as a preferred method of addressing the industry’s carbon footprint. The policy states that “carbon emission reductions achieved through national truck fuel economy standards are preferable to government actions that increase fuel prices in an effort to discourage petroleum-based diesel fuel consumption or mandate the use of alternative fuels.” While any federally-mandated carbon control program applied to transportation fuels likely will increase the cost of fossil fuels, discussions of carbon control programs should be premised on fundamental principles designed to minimize disruptions to the transportation of goods and to protect the viability of the trucking industry.

Visit www.trucksdeliver.org for more information about ATA’s sustainability recommendations.

The proposal is available by clicking here and here.

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