While Congress is out on vacation, one lobby group is reminding lawmakers while they are out talking with voters back home that a large majority of Americans favor requiring truck manufacturers to increase the fuel economy of large trucks, at least according to its poll.
According to the most recent results of the Consumer Federation of America’s survey of consumer attitudes towards vehicle fuel efficiency, 74% of respondents support the standards with 25% opposing them.
CFA, which represents nearly 300 non-profit consumer organizations, said the survey shows in spite of the strong desire to regulate the reduction of fuel use by big trucks, only 56% of Americans are actually aware of the impact that such fuel use has on their pocketbooks, with his expense being passed along to consumers in the cost of goods and services.
The groups recent report, Paying the Freight: The Consumer Benefits of Increasing the Fuel Economy of Medium and Heavy Duty Trucks, estimates 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,” the group said in a release. “According to the CFA study, increasing heavy duty truck fuel efficiency by 50% would cut truck fueling costs, saving the average household $250 per year on goods and services.”
The poll of just over 1,000 adults has a margin of error of plus or minus 3% and was conducted near mid-July.
“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.
CFA said the survey results and analysis in recent report are timely given the Obama administration’s push to increase the fuel efficiency of medium and heavy duty trucks beginning in 2019. The group said it was planning to submit comments to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration calling on the agency to “recognize consumers as a major stakeholder in the proceedings [as it develops new truck fuel efficiency rules] and 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 issue of increasing truck fuel economy in trucking remains controversial, with trucking supporters saying they will reduce the overall cost of ownership of trucks. Opponents claim many truck owners, especially small fleets and owner-operators, can not afford higher truck prices that will likely come with fuel efficiency increases, adding they have already been hurt by truck price hikes associated with more stringent federal emissions regulations over the past decade. Such opposition has led to some in Congress to try and stop new rules to make trucks get better fuel milage.