Consumer Goods Companies: Stand Up For Strong Truck Standards

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(Credit: Union of Concerned Scientists)

Three billion gallons of fuel:  That is what consumer goods companies stand to save annually from strong heavy truck fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards, according to a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

$11.5 million dollars: That is how much a large consumer goods company would save annually in 2030 from strong truck efficiency standards.

Consumer goods companies should be at the front of the pack calling for new, protective, and affordable fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for our largest trucks — which will not only protect our air quality and the climate overall, but save companies costs involved in moving freight.

While they seldom directly own large delivery fleets, consumer goods companies are the largest single consumer of freight moves: accounting for nearly 30% of moves, according to an EDF-commissioned analysis from ICF International.

Most large consumer goods companies have robust environmental sustainability platforms, which increasingly include supply chain impacts. This makes sense, as nearly 90% of consumer goods impacts occur in companies' supply chains.

PrintProduct distribution is a meaningful contributor to those impacts: around five percent for a pair of Timberland shoes, 8 percent for a six pack of Fat Tire craft beer, and 10 percent for an iPad. Freight moved via truck accounts for the majority of logistics-related emissions. By increasing the efficiency of heavy trucks by 46% compared to 2010, consumer goods companies will meaningfully reduce supply chain climate emissions.

Increases to fuel efficiency are good for the bottom line too. Fuel has long been a top cost for trucking, accounting for nearly 40% of per-mile cost. More efficient trucks lower lifecycle costs significantly, and reduce per-mile freight costs by 21 cents a mile, as an analysis by EDF and Ceres demonstrated last year.

President Obama pledged last year to issue new truck efficiency standards this spring. As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration ready the proposed standards for release, consumer goods companies should be leading the call for the administration to set bold standards. These companies stand to benefit the most from lower supply chain emissions and reduce shipping costs. As the largest single consumer of trucking services, calling for protective standards is the responsible course of action.