Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Obama Pleases LaHood and Road Freight Lobby with Emissions Controls

Measures to Cut Pollution and Lower Fuel Costs
Shipping News Feature

US – Over the past weeks we have had to listen to bickering between Republicans and Democrats which many, overseas observers at least, consider fiddling whilst Rome burns. The economic situation and the downgrading by a single agency of America’s credit rating means the net result is probably unsatisfactory to both parties. Fortunately in the world of US freight trucking some of the politicians responsible in part for the supply chain have managed to get along a little better, despite political differences.

Ray LaHood, the incumbent Secretary of Transport, a man much admired, has been fulsome in his praise of President Obama in the way he has dealt with an issue many truckers consider an essential ingredient to the public perception of the haulage industry as well as necessary to lower the cost of freight consignments.

The 2014-2018 fuel efficiency standards for trucks which the President introduced today according to LaHood are designed to account for the different kind of work done by different kinds of trucks. Long haul trucks will save an average of 4 gallons for fuel for every 100 miles travelled. Heavy-duty pickups and vehicles like buses, delivery trucks, or vans would save one gallon for every 100 miles travelled. Altogether, he estimates the US will achieve the saving of 530 million barrels of oil.

Over the life of a typical truck built to the revised standards LaHood says a semi-truck driver will see net savings of $73,000 through reduced fuel costs which, despite an increased initial cost, will still represent substantial savings over the life of the vehicle. Estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calculate that these new standards will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 270 million metric tons yielding an incredible $49 billion in dividends to the country. The standards will also reduce emissions of harmful air pollutants, which can lead to asthma, heart attacks and premature death. LaHood says:

“I am grateful to President Obama for introducing these standards. Right now, heavy-duty truck traffic on our nation’s roads accounts for six percent of our greenhouse gas emissions. But trucking is also the fastest-growing contributor to America's emissions, and that six percent will continue rising unless we act. Trucks also consume 12 percent of US oil use, so these standards should put a dent in our dependence on foreign oil and improve our energy security.

“The standards the President announced today will provide a huge financial lift to America's truckers. Even better, by improving the way we transport goods, these steps move the nation in the right direction.”