Public in favor of higher truck fuel efficiency standards

But 26 Percent Say They're Against Cleaner Trucks

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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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 ( ) 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.


[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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