CCJ: Report: More fuel efficient trucks would be economic boon, help consumers

By James Jaillet

Increasing the fuel efficiency of trucks would lead to lower transportation costs — and thereby lower cost of goods — and save consumers hundreds of dollars a year, this according to a report released this week by the Consumer Federation of America.

The report says that a 50 percent increase in the fuel efficiency of trucks would save the average American household $250 a year, a number that could rise to $400 by 2035 as fuel prices increase, the report says.

That savings would act as an overall stimulant to the U.S. economy, freeing up $29.8 billion in disposable income for consumers, the report notes. The average U.S. household today spends about $1,100 a year due to truck fuel costs, according to CFA, and that number is projected to rise with fuel costs.

The report, dubbed “Paying the Freight: The Consumer Benefits of Increasing Fuel Economy of Medium and Heavy-Duty Trucks”, states the obvious in many ways about the price of goods and the cost of transportation, noting the correlation between increased fuel costs and increased cost of goods for consumers.

Lowering transportation costs is a win-win for everyone, CFA says. “One of the reasons we believe a strong fuel efficiency standard for heavy-duty trucks will be implemented is because key components of the trucking industry are also seeking ways to reduce the enormous impact of fuel expenditures on their costs,” said Jack Gillis, director of public affairs for the Consumer Federation.

The report also notes other oft-cited benefits of reducing fuel consumption of trucks: Environmental benefits in reducing emissions and the social and security benefits of reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

The report says tightening fuel economy standards on large trucks could follow the U.S.’ policies on tightening fuel efficiency for light vehicles. President Barack Obama has also noted he would like to see increased fuel economy standards implemented for heavy trucks.

Click here to see the entire report.