Industry Group Condemns Truck Fuel Economy Standards, Greens Celebrate

While the free-market-aligned Institute for Energy Research condemned the Obama administrations release of its final fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles Tuesday, environmental groups applauded it.

The fuel economy standards, released by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Tuesday, will cut 1.1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions

IER President Thomas Pyle said the new standards will increase costs and reduce jobs. He went on to say the rule will not do much to address global warming.

“These sorts of heavy-duty trucks are owned and operated by companies that have every incentive to save money on fuel,” Pyle said in a statement. “This regulation only serves to increase the cost of owning and operating these truck fleets — making it more expensive to do business in the U.S. This means fewer jobs and lower wages for American workers. The rule will have very little impact on global temperatures, but will add yet another layer of expensive government red tape.”

“This has been the theme of the Obama administration’s entire climate agenda — all economic pain for little environmental gain,” Pyle added.

However, the Consumer Federation of America said the new efficiency standards would save consumers money. At a public hearing on increasing the standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks last year, CFA Public Affairs Director Jack Gillis estimated that the average American family spends more than $1,100 a year on the fuel to transport everyday goods and services.

“For a long time, an efficiency gap has forced consumers to pay the freight for inefficient shipping,” Gillis said in a statement following Tuesday’s release. “These standards will save consumers money, just as other energy efficiency goals have saved families and businesses money on the total cost of owning and operating cars, light-duty trucks, and home appliances such as refrigerators and water heaters.”

Environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters also praised the standards, echoing CFA’s statement that the new standards will save consumers money. The Sierra Club estimated the program will save vehicle owners about $170 billion in fuel costs.

“Today, tractor-trailers average roughly six miles per gallon — the same as they have for decades,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said in a statement. “By using advanced technologies, from aerodynamic trailers to automated manual transmissions, we can save consumers money, cut oil consumption, and decrease dangerous carbon pollution.”

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