Strengthening the fuel economy of medium- and heavy-duty trucks could create as many as 124,000 jobs in the US by 2030, with all 50 states experiencing net job growth, according to a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and CALSTART. Efficiency improvements could save class 8 fleet truck owners more than $120,000 per tractor-trailer over eight years and owner-operators more than $80,000 per tractor over 10 to 15 years, assuming an average $3.50 per gallon fuel price.
The report comes shortly before an anticipated announcement from the Obama Administration on a plan to set national standards for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions for heavy- and medium-duty trucks.
Using existing and emerging fuel-saving technology, the United States could save four times more oil on an annual basis by 2030 than the volume expected from expanded offshore drilling in that same year, the report, Delivering Jobs: The Economic Costs and Benefits of Improving Heavy Duty Vehicle Fuel Economy, notes.
Medium- and heavy-duty trucks represent only 4% of all vehicles on US highways, but they consume more than 20% of on-road transportation fuels. Improving the average fuel economy of these trucks by 3.7 mpg with current and near-term technologies would reduce US annual oil consumption by 11 billion gallons in 2030, according to UCS.
Investing in fuel efficiency technologies for heavy-duty trucks would create jobs in the manufacturing sector and throughout the entire economy because fuel savings outweigh the cost of more efficient trucks. Our report demonstrates that improving the gas mileage of these vehicles not only would provide opportunity for economic growth and job creation, but would strengthen our energy security and reduce global warming emissions as well.
—Don Anair, a UCS senior analyst and co-author of the report
Long-haul, heavy-duty tractor-trailers now consume some 22 billion gallons of fuel per year, according to the report—the largest amount of fuel used by any sector of the US medium- and heavy-duty trucking industry. Recent analyses of efficiency technologies for long-haul tractors pulling van trailers cited by the study show that fuel economy gains of 65 to 100% are possible by 2017. Enabling technologies include advanced aerodynamics; low rolling resistance tires;, and incremental improvements in engine performance through better combustion techniques.
Medium-duty-trucks could also benefit from better aerodynamics; low rolling resistance tires; more efficient conventional and electric-hybrid drivetrains; and lightweight materials. According to two recent analyses, hybridization alone could boost fuel efficiency 40% or more, while a combination of more conventional technologies could improve fuel efficiency by more than 35%.
UCS found that net cost savings from more efficient trucks would total $24 billion in 2030 at fuel prices of about $3.50 per gallon, after factoring in the cost of efficiency technologies.
CALSTART, a leading advanced transportation technologies consortium, examined the economic impact that advanced truck technologies available between 2020 and 2030 will have on truck owners and found lifecycle cost savings for all trucks, based on the conservative assumption of $3.50 a gallon for gasoline and diesel fuel.
Report findings include:
Net job increases nationwide: 63,000 additional jobs in 2020 and 124,000 in 2030. All states would experience net job growth. California, Texas, Florida, New York, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Michigan lead the way with more than 4,000 additional jobs apiece by 2030.
An increase in US annual gross domestic product of $4 billion by 2020 and $10 billion by 2030.
Savings of more than $120,000 per truck for fleets operating new advanced-technology heavy-duty tractor-trailers over eight years, after recovering the initial $62,000 investment.
Per-truck savings of more than $80,000 over 10 years (used truck) and 15 years (new truck) for owners of advanced-technology heavy-duty tractors without trailers.
Package delivery fleets can expect to save $11,000 to $26,000 over 12 years of ownership for every box truck updated with advanced technologies.
Overall investment costs in 2020 total $4.7 billion, with net savings of $10 billion at fuel prices of about $3.50 per gallon.
Overall investment costs in 2030 total $13.4 billion with net savings of $24 billion at fuel prices of about $3.50 per gallon.
Savings of 100 billion gallons of diesel and gasoline between 2010 and 2030.
Annual fuel savings in 2030 could top 11 billion gallons of diesel and gasoline.
Global warming emissions reductions of 140 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2030.
Despite real business case benefits, uncertainty about future policies can stall the development of these valuable new technologies. Smart federal policy, including clear, long-term performance standards and financial incentives, would help truck owners and the industry make the transition and stimulate the economy at the same time.
—Bill Van Amburg, senior vice president of CALSTART
Don Anair and Jamie Hall (2010) Delivering Jobs: The Economic Costs and Benefits of Improving the Fuel Economy of Heavy-Duty Vehicles