Statement on Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicle Fuel Efficiency and Carbon Emissions Standards

The Obama administration today issued the first ever medium- and heavy-duty truck fuel efficiency and carbon pollution standards, signaling a new era in vehicle efficiency.

August 9, 2011

Labor, Environmental Leaders Laud New Standards; Call for More Efforts to Create Good, 21st Century Jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 9, 2011) The Obama administration today issued the first ever medium- and heavy-duty truck fuel efficiency and carbon pollution standards, signaling a new era in vehicle efficiency. The announcement comes on the heels an agreement on light-duty vehicle standards, which was announced in late July.

While medium- and heavy-duty vehicles – including utility trucks, delivery vans, buses, and long-haul freight trucks – make up just four percent of vehicles on the road, they consume up to 37 billion gallons of fuel every year and account for 20 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution from the transportation sector. As a result, these standards represent an incredible opportunity to lower fuel costs for truckers, cut pollution, save oil, and create jobs. The new rules are set to take effect in 2014.

Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club
“The Sierra Club applauds the President’s historic announcement today. By setting fuel efficiency and carbon pollution standards for medium and heavy duty trucks, we will, for the first time, be able to clean up and improve the performance of the delivery trucks, city buses and freight trucks that Americans rely on each day, clearing our air, saving truckers and businesses money at the pump, creating jobs and bringing the nation a step closer to moving beyond oil.”

James P. Hoffa, General President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters:
“These new standards will be vital to our efforts to clean up our nation’s ports and ensure we all can breathe cleaner air. The standards will be an invaluable tool as we work together with other unions, environmental organizations, and private and public interests in the Coalition for Clean & Safe Ports.

“But, as these standards are implemented, we must ensure that the cost of doing business and cleaning up our environment by moving to more efficient vehicles is not passed on to hardworking truckers and we instead hold the industry responsible to labor and environmental standards.”

Bob King, President, United Auto Workers:
“With these new fuel efficiency standards – and the light duty standards announced recently – we truly are moving forward to a more efficient fleet of vehicles across the board. And, with this new fleet comes good jobs, a reduced dependence on foreign oil, and less pollution harming our communities and the environment. UAW is pleased to support these common sense proposals that illustrate what we can achieve when business, labor, and the public sector work together to achieve consensus.”

Larry Schweiger, President and CEO, National Wildlife Federation:
“These standards will provide welcome fuel savings, budget relief, and pollution reduction to those who rely on heavy trucks to move nation’s goods and people, haul equipment on the job, or tow a boat to the lake. Truck manufacturers and workers, state and federal regulators, and conservationists stand together behind this new rule. It shows what Americans can accomplish when we work together.”

Kevin Knobloch, President, Union of Concerned Scientists:
“These standards will put Americans back to work by saving fuel and sparking innovation.  We have the technology to meet the standards and go even farther in the future to make our trucks cleaner, more fuel efficient, and less expensive to operate.  That’s good for workers, trucking companies, and the environment.”

Peter Lehner, Executive Director, NRDC
“Under these historic standards, American companies will use less fuel to move food, freight and other products and manufacturers will build cleaner trucks. This means less air pollution for our communities to breathe and less carbon pollution that threatens our climate.

“More fuel efficient heavy trucks will help businesses and consumers by lowering transportation costs while protecting the environment.”

David Foster, Executive Director, BlueGreen Alliance:
“The BlueGreen Alliance strongly supports the Obama administration’s efforts to build a comprehensive, national set of vehicle standards that will usher in a cleaner fleet of cars and trucks. These standards will reduce our dependence on oil, strengthen the U.S. auto and truck manufacturing sectors, create quality jobs and significantly reduce GHG pollution as America transitions to a 21st century clean energy economy.

“It’s time Washington focuses on jobs. Efforts like these today by President Obama must be part of a greater plan to close America’s jobs deficit. The BlueGreen Alliance has offered a jobs plan called Jobs21!, which focuses on keeping and creating jobs in 21st century industries, such as advanced vehicle manufacturing, renewable energy, energy efficiency, broadband Internet, transportation and transit infrastructure, green chemistry and other vital industries.”