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Study Concludes That Improving Truck Fuel Economy Would Create More Than 120K New US Jobs by 2030

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




If the democrats have their way, those jobs will be given to immigrants, not Americans. Obama is allowing 125,000 to enter the country legally each month, not only because they have jobs lined up. Even when a student informs on network television to the president's wife that "My mother has no documents", the administration refuses to act on its responsibility. Shameful negligence! What good are green jobs if they are given to non-Americans? Increasing our population will not make us greener.


"Enabling technologies include advanced aerodynamics; low rolling resistance tires;, and incremental improvements in engine performance through better combustion techniques."

124k more workers for this?.. I guess the government is really trying to help you.


These studies are all the more suspect when the main title itself has a typo.

It was supposed to read;
"Study Concludes That Improving Truck Fuel Economy Would allow Administration to claim More Than 120K New US Jobs Created by 2030"


We could create even more jobs and save even more fuel if we built a nation-wide high speed rail network for both freight and passengers.


Peter: Why not do both? USA has the means and knowhow but the will is still missing.


Obama needs to put together a rail plan for the US. He might make it part of an Future Infrastructure plan that includes high speed (mag lev-type) rail AND a space exploration program. The thinking is to position space as part of our next generation infrastructure.

So, we build efficient, fast ground based rail for passenger and freight and a solar system exploration program for our next frontier. The space portion will emphasize two goals: look for life-supporting planetary environments (mars, Europa e.g.)and resource exploration (rare earth metals e.g.)

The US needs to once again create a future vision that attracts the best, most creative minds to our shores. An interplanetary infrastructure might just be the start of such vision.


Actually Passenger Rail has long has friends in Obama and Biden; http://www.lightrailnow.org/news/n_newslog2008q4.htm#AMTRAK_20081008

As a senator Biden commuted regularly via Amtrak between his home in Delaware and the Senate.

the doctor

net jobs increase? fat chance of that. they are using standard government charts that tie company income with number of jobs, not reality. The assumption is always that economies that reduce costs of shipping will increase the amount of product that is shipped. However recent events show that amount of product shipped by trucks has dropped due to lack of consumer buying, thus price does not matter. If and when the economy recovers, trucking will recover with it, with some expectation of gaining back jos already lost. the improved efficiencies will improve the rate that trucking recovers, but it will not be the driver for jobs.

Dave R

Great - let's start by installing skirts on trailers. Maybe 1 out of 50 trucks I see have them installed.

Inexpensive and gets you an instant 6% reduction in fuel consumption in long-haul trucking.

It's a no brainer!


Very appropriate and necessary. But I keep hoping that analysts, decisionmakers, and entrepreneurs will start to get an inkling that it's not just about 2017 and after, and that vehicles, like homes, offices and factories, are a part of the "built environment" that we can "fix."

We have 100 million large gas-guzzlers on the roads today; they'll stick around for a few decades; and we can do better than wait for new more efficient vehicles or spent over $50,000 to convert them to natural gas (still a fossil fuel with significant greenhouse gas emissions). These vehicles have room for batteries and can be turned into all-electric or plug-in hybrids, depending on their design and drive cycles.

Two years from now, when companies are making money doing this, it will be obvious. If only we didn't have to lose two more critical years! Once we (and Canada) start offfering incentives to converters for safe, driveable, validated conversions, at levels equivalent to those we're giving new plug-ins, i.e. $7,500, startups will be able to make the business case and get moving!

-- Felix Kramer, Founder, The California Cars Initiative -- see the rationale and some companies at http://www.calcars.org/ice-conversions.html

Roger Pham

"The doctor" has a good point. Lower cost of transportation does not necessarily translate to job gain. It may do the opposite: more outsourcing of high-paying local jobs.

The best bet in job creation is to increase local green energy production and tougher environmental measures designed to employ more local people. Putting people to work to reduce energy dependency and to clean up the environment. Ban the use of plastic bottles while mandate recycling of glass bottles like the old days (mild and soda glass bottles). Reduce junk mail volume and enforce total recycling of newspaper and magazine paper.

Have a comprehensive program of recycling all durable goods, and do it LOCALLY, instead of shipping everything to China for recycling. Impose local recycling tax on all durable goods sold, to use toward recycling of these things later on, and employ local labor force.

Environmentalism can be an instrument for job growth as well as a politically viable policy toward a clean and sustainable future. Those people who don't take care of their environment will self-destruct.

Sanity Chk

Felix: You're absolutely right. The best, most bang-for-the-buck impact we can have transportation carbon emission reductions lies in getting CH4 conversion kits and businesses up and running. I've looked at conversions for my cars that allow for dual use of gasoline or CH4, but they are a bit pricey for my budget. This would be an excellent target for a govt. subsidy. Further, the Westport diesel conversion for big rigs is well proven and in operation in fleets in many countries.

One of the things that appealed to me about a CH4 conversion for my cars is the prospect of installing a fueling station at home connected to my natural gas pipeline.

Roger: I see no reason why we, as a nation, cannot demand that factories shipping goods from overseas be required to meet verifiable and increasingly stringent green practices wrt recycling, energy efficiency, low-carbon footprints, etc. We obviously need to demand the same of our factories and holding imports to the same standards at least helps balance the economic impact.

Sanity Chk

Felix: There's no reason why the cost of an automotive conversion for dual CH4 & Gasoline cannot be down at the $7500 level. CH4 emits only about a quarter the carbon as gasoline and is an excellent transitional fuel before going full electric.

Show me a plug-in electric hybrid bolt-on kit for my Volvo at the same price point and I might consider that as an option. In the mean while, I think both approaches should be subsidized and pursued.

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