How 2014 Proved Truck Fuel Efficiency Standards are a Good Thing

March 6, 2015

Truck fuel efficiency standards became a reality in 2014, and – in a good news story - the statistics show that they immediately began to be embraced by the people who buy trucks.

New Truck registrations were 19% higher than their 2013 levels. In fact, 2015 is looking even stronger, with forecasts suggesting it will be the third strongest year ever for truck sales. Obviously, a good part of this is to do with a recovering economy, but enthusiasm for higher fuel efficiency is also driving sales increases.

Don’t take my word for it. The lead transportation analyst for investment firm, Stifel, recently noted that “the superior fuel efficiency of the newer engines” was a key incentive in getting fleets to buy new trucks now.

Daimler Trucks, the leading producer of class 8 trucks for the U.S. market, acknowledged recently that demand in 2014 for their most efficient engine and transmission combination was “beyond expectations.” Cummins posted higher-than-expected quarterly profits, “lifted by strong sales of its vehicle components in North America.” Navistar also suggested that the demand for new trucks is because, “new trucks have lower operating costs” – which is of course due to increased fuel efficiency.

Because of smart, well-design federal policy, 2014 trucks were the most efficient ever, and 2014 was a banner year for truck sales. These simple facts point clearly to the idea that the trucking industry is responding positively to an increase in fuel efficiency, and putting money behind it.

We’re not done yet. Importantly, the White House will soon announce Phase 2 of the 2014-2018 heavy truck efficiency standards. Now, we all have an opportunity to further improve and strengthen these standards – creating more economic and environmental benefits in the process. Fleet owners and environmentalists both have a lot a stake in good rules that improve efficiency, provide total costs of ownership savings and reduce climate pollution.

About the Author

Jason Mathers | Sr. Manager, Supply Chain Logistics

Jason Mathers leads the Green Freight initiative for Environmental Defense Fund.  Under Jason’s guidance, EDF has worked with several of the nation’s largest shippers to identify and implement strategies that increase carbon efficiency in freight transportation. He is also a leading advocate for increasing fuel-efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from large trucks.

Jason is the author of Smart Moves: Creative Supply Chain Strategies Are Cutting Transport Costs and Emissions, and has given presentations at numerous conferences, including the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, the Work Truck Show, and Society for Automotive Engineers.

Jason has a graduate degree in economics from Suffolk University and a B.S. in environmental science from the University of Massachusetts. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy.

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