Amping Up Vehicle Efficiency Standards

Last week, the president directed the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation to move forward with the next round of fuel efficiency standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks by March 2016. This is great news for small business owners who, according to our polling, overwhelmingly support greater fuel efficiency standards because they will help save on fuel costs and boost entrepreneurs’ bottom lines.

In 2011, the Administration set new fuel efficiency standards for new medium- and heavy-duty trucks that take effect this year and last until 2018. Over the lifetimes of these vehicles, it’s estimated that trucks and buses will reduce oil consumption by 530 million barrels and carbon emissions by approximately 270 million metric tons, saving an estimated $50 billion in fuel costs.

Small business owners support clean energy measures and vehicle emissions standards like these because they help drive savings and innovation, giving a much-needed boost to the economy and their bottom lines. We found 87 percent of small business owners believe it’s important to increase fuel efficiency standards now. And a staggering 80 percent of small business owners support raising fuel efficiency standards to 60 mpg, which is even stricter than the standards agreed upon by the president and automakers. Once standards are raised, the money saved on fuel will be injected into the economy as cash becomes available to business owners who want to hire new employees but are unable to because of suffocating energy costs.

Next time you’re on the road consider this: large trucks account for only 4 percent of all vehicles on the highway, but they’re responsible for a whopping 20 percent of carbon pollution caused by transportation and 20 percent of on-road fuel consumption. What’s more, they haul a vast 70 percent of domestic freight. When it comes to heavy-duty trucks and buses, even small measures in energy efficiency can have a huge impact. It’s great to see our policymakers are trucking forward with vehicle efficiency standards: they’re good for the environment, our economy and the small business community.