Yes, the most recent poll results from the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) were about as predictable as asking Americans whether they wanted more sunlight or to lose a few pounds. Indeed, when one asks John Q. Public whether he's in favor of better fuel economy for semi trucks, well, the result's likely to be affirmative. To us, it's the 26 percent who were not in favor of more fuel-efficient trucks that have some explaining to do.

So, yes, 74 percent of the roughly 1,000 American adults the CFA polled last month voted in favor of more fuel-efficient trucks. CFA estimates that increasing fuel-efficiency of trucks by 50 percent would save the average household $250 a year in the form of cheaper goods and services. As fuel prices continue to rise, so will that potential savings number.

This past February, President Obama laid out details of the first-ever truck fuel-efficiency mandate that was first disclosed in August 2011. In part, those standards mandated a 20-percent boost in fuel efficiency by 2018 for semi trucks and a 15-percent fuel-efficiency improvement during the same time period from heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans. These standards would save an estimated 530 million barrels of oil and $50 billion in fuel costs and during the life of new trucks built between 2014 and 2018. Read more in CFA's press release below.
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CONSUMERS WANT MORE FUEL EFFICIENT HEAVY DUTY TRUCKS

Big Truck Fuel Efficiency Standards Would Put Dollars Back into Household Budgets

Washington, DC –A large majority of Americans – nearly three quarters – favor requiring truck manufacturers to increase the fuel economy of large trucks to reduce their fuel costs, much of which is passed on to consumers. According to the most recent results of the Consumer Federation of America's ongoing polling of consumer attitudes towards vehicle fuel efficiency, 74 percent of respondents support the standards with only 25 percent opposing them.[1]

CFA's new survey shows that, in spite of the strong desire to regulate the reduction of fuel use by big trucks, only 56 percent of Americans are actually aware of the impact that such fuel use has on our pocketbooks. This expense is passed on to consumers in the cost of goods and services.

CFA's recent report, "Paying the Freight: The Consumer Benefits of Increasing the Fuel Economy of Medium and Heavy Duty Trucks" estimates that, each year, the average American household spends $1,100 extra on consumer goods and services to cover the costs of fueling up inefficient heavy duty trucks. Companies pass these fuel costs on to consumers through price hikes on everything from a gallon of milk to large appliances. According to the CFA study, increasing heavy duty truck fuel efficiency by 50 percent would cut truck fueling costs, saving the average household $250 per year on goods and services.

"Consumer support for big truck fuel economy is already substantial, and as consumers better understand the impact these policies have on their pocketbooks, public support for these policies will become even stronger," said Jack Gillis, CFA's director of public affairs and author of The Car Book.

CFA's survey results and analysis in Paying the Freight are timely given the Obama Administration's commitment to increase the fuel efficiency of medium and heavy duty trucks beginning in 2019. Tomorrow, CFA is submitting comments (http://www.consumerfed.org/pdfs/NHTSA-Paying-the-Freight-Comments-8-8-14.pdf ) to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) calling on the agency to recognize: 1) consumers as a major stakeholder in the proceedings; and, 2) the consumer pocketbook savings and the positive multiplier effect that increasing consumer disposable income will have on the economy in calculating costs and benefits in the analysis.

The Consumer Federation of America is an association of more than 250 nonprofit consumer groups that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education.

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[1] For the CFA survey, ORC International asked a representative sample of 1005 adult Americans, by cell phone or landline, about the fuel economy of large trucks and related fuel economy standards July 10-13, 2014,. Margin of error for the survey is plus or minus three percentage points.


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  • 14 Comments
      • 4 Months Ago
      I have 3 million miles behind me running all lower 48 an half of Canada.Fuel when i started was cheeper an miles per gallon averaged 4-5 miles an now trucks are getting between 6-8 miles per gallon the last thing the Trucking Industry needs is our Government getting involved in something they dont have a clue about.Truck builders work everyday trying to better the industry an have been fine on their own.Remember this story said it will save Americans money when has our government ever involved themself in anything that saved us money.This is just more regulations an let me tell you with every rgulation comes cost an you the citizen will pay.Over the last 5 years we have seen all kind of Industries be attacked by government agencies that cost American citizens more.Gas up 100 percent since Jan.09 Beef up 50% Diary up 40% Poultry going up now.Regulations is forcing Americans to eat an afford only Greens with no meat.This is totally unhealthy think about it we the people must stop this STUPIDITY an we can in November midterms.
      goodoldgorr
      • 4 Months Ago
      A small quantity of hydrogen gas mix with the diesel can provide a boost in efficiency and reduce emissions. It is an avenue to experiment. There is also nat gas for these trucks that are supposed to come in the future.
      Mike Smith
      • 4 Months Ago
      Of course people are in favor of more fuel-efficient trucks; that's like asking people if they're in favor of more sunshine on weekends. The question is how to achieve that. The two main options are to implement/increase mandatory fuel efficiency metrics, a la CAFE; or, to deal with the issue economically - e.g. by eliminating tax subsidies for Big Oil, and/or through increased fuel taxes.
      • 4 Months Ago
      "CFA estimates that increasing fuel-efficiency of trucks by 50 percent would save the average household $250 a year in the form of cheaper goods and services." Might be so on paper. We all know the saving will not be passed onto the consumer, it will go into the company's CEO's pockets instead. On a good note. The fuel savings will help the smaller independent truck driver who is trying to make a living with the rig that he owns.
      BipDBo
      • 4 Months Ago
      "To us, it's the 26 percent who were not in favor of more fuel-efficient trucks that have some explaining to do." As a member of the 26% here it is. In truth, 74% of the population really just hasn't given enough thought to the question, and apparently, neither has our president or this AB author. The trucking industry spends a lot of money on fuel. These guys are not buying hot rods. Free market competition gives plenty of reason for manufacturers to continually improve truck efficiency. It just takes a lot of fuel to carry such a big, heavy load. The fuel used per mile, per pound of cargo is already multitudes more efficient than any car. There is no need for the federal government to jump in and mandate anything. The response from the industry would simply be "We're already working on it, idiot." This is very different from mandates for truck to clean up diesel emissions. There is not a direct reward for a trucking company to clean its emissions, so in this case a federal mandate was helpful..
        lne937s
        • 4 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        BidDBo- While I understand the ideological argument and the hypothetical free-market ideal, it reality, it doesn't often work that way. Concentration on quarterly results, beating peer groups and maintaining cash reserves in a still volatile global economy tends to not translate into long-term ROI. For example, Delta recently bought used 717's. While these are less efficient than 737's, they were dirt cheap, required little capital investment, and were compatible with existing MD parts and maintenance. Makes business sense, but doesn't save fuel. At my previous employer, I was pushing them to switch existing Edison sockets to new low-cost LED's, which had a clear ROI in energy savings within about a year at our usage. Instead, they switched from CFL to incandescent bulbs due to a cut in quarterly maintenance budgets. Solar panels are now cheap enough that between commercial daytime electricity rates and incentives there is positive ROI within a few years virtually everywhere in the US... ever notice a commercial building that doesn't have solar panels? Sometimes, regulation can help move up capital investments with ROI that goes past the current quarter.
          lne937s
          • 4 Months Ago
          @lne937s
          BidDBo- I think you'll find my airline example a bit more relevant if you think about it. Fuel is the single largest expense for an airline. It has pushed advancements seen in the 787, A320NEO, 737MAX... but it isn't the only business consideration. Similarly, the US trucking industry doesn't live and die solely on fuel efficiency. European trucks are significantly more efficient in both design and operation. Although fuel prices are a big motivation, much of that has to do with the 90 km/h (54 mph) limit in Europe. In operation, this reduces both aerodynamic drag and energy that is lost in braking, both of which go up exponentially with speed. In addition, a truck going 75 mph has to deal with almost twice the kinetic energy of one going 54 (KE= 1/2 MV2). This means the engine can be smaller and more efficient. The brakes can be smaller. The wheels and tires (typically the least aerodynamic part) can be smaller and have lower rolling resistance. Suspension and bearings don't have to deal with the same peak loads and can be smaller. Load floors can be lower and designs can be optimized around the smaller components to reduce drag.... But most of our trucking companies choose more miles per day from their drivers and faster delivery times over optimizing around fuel economy-- which increases short-term profit. Similarly, shifting over an entire fleet to more efficient technology is capital intensive both from a vehicle perspective, as well as from a parts, maintenance and facilities perspective...Kind of like the cab fleets here switching from the inefficient but cheap to fix Crown Vic. The trucking industry is getting more efficient, but they are making decisions that keep them from being there yet... Some regulation can help push that forward.
          BipDBo
          • 4 Months Ago
          @lne937s
          I'm in agreement with you that businesses don't always respond intelligently to ROI, but that's not the case here. Reread what I've written. For semi truck fuel efficiency, the free market has been working well, has already accounted for massive improvements and is continuing to do so. I gave the example of diesel emissions where the free market doesn't produce improvements and regulations were necessary to clean up the tailpipes. The only purpose of this program to mandate higher mpgs, like all too many programs, is to make it look like a politician is doing something. Politics is a 3 ring circus, and this is nothing but political smoke and mirrors, distractions from much bigger problems that they have no idea how to solve. The only results of federal mandate for higher mpgs would be more governmental deficit spending on regulation, produce more red tape for the manufacturers which would ultimately cause higher cost for the trucks, and cause the engineers to engineer more around the tests than around real world efficiency that the customers respond to.
        Ryan
        • 4 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        The "Free Market" would want truckers to use old trucks until they fall apart if the new ones cost $200k and will get 4 mpg better. It is the 26% of grumpy, spoiled, cynics that are causing the problems in this country.
          BipDBo
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Ryan
          The commercial truck market is different from the car market. Commercial trucks are driven by the bottom line, whereas the car market is driven by emotions on the showroom floor. A brand new Semi tractor rig costs around $120,000. Currently, these trucks can average, fully loaded, through flat plains, mountains, highways and city traffic over their life, 6.8 to 7.5 mpg. These trucks can get much better cruising on flat road at constant speed. It was very many years ago that these trucks averaged 4-5 mpg. So the free market competition has already reduced fuel use by 40%. These trucks are designed to go about a million miles before their first engine rebuild. 120,000 miles per year is typical, so that's 8 years, 4 months, not too long past the truck's financing period. So let's compare a typical truck you can buy today, that will give you an average of 7.15 mpg to a theoretical truck that will give you about 10% improvement to average 8 mpg. At $3.54/gallon, the 8mpg truck will save the owner $52,604 before the first engine rebuild, or nearly half the cost of the truck. What makes anybody believe that free market is insufficient to make further improvement when it has already driven a 40% improvement, and it's still going? A 20% improvement would save $99,020 which is a lot of free market incentive, so why on earth do we need a federal mandate to try to force it to happen. After the last 40% leap we may be at diminishing returns. What would the industry do if it proves to be practically unattainable within the given timeframe?
      Len Simpson
      • 4 Months Ago
      While traditional big rigs expend as much as 50% of their power just pushing air out of the way, the AirFlow BulletTruck has a much more aerodynamic design that allows it to slice through the atmosphere with ease. While hauling a 65,000 pound load from Connecticut to California, the BulletTruck big rig managed to average 13.4 MPG, more than double the 6 MPG or so most big rigs average while on the road. That’s even better than the Supertruck, another aerodynamically-enhanced big rig with better fuel economy.
      • 4 Months Ago
      I have 3 million miles behind me running all lower 48 an half of Canada.Fuel when i started was cheeper an miles per gallon averaged 4-5 miles an now trucks are getting between 6-8 miles per gallon the last thing the Trucking Industry needs is our Government getting involved in something they dont have a clue about.Truck builders work everyday trying to better the industry an have been fine on their own.Remember this story said it will save Americans money when has our government ever involved themself in anything that saved us money.This is just more regulations an let me tell you with every rgulation comes cost an you the citizen will pay.Over the last 5 years we have seen all kind of Industries be attacked by government agencies that cost American citizens more.Gas up 100 percent since Jan.09 Beef up 50% Diary up 40% Poultry going up now.Regulations is forcing Americans to eat an afford only Greens with no meat.This is totally unhealthy think about it we the people must stop this STUPIDITY an we can in November midterms.
        BipDBo
        • 4 Months Ago
        Here, here. Government intervention isn't always the best solution. In fact, it rarely is.
      paulwesterberg
      • 4 Months Ago
      Should be easily achievable. This company is claiming 13.4mpg with cheap aerodynamic improvements: http://www.airflowtruck.com/
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