American Trucking Associations Tells Congress that Climate Change Legislation Comes at Great Cost to American Consumers

ARLINGTON, Va., August 10, 2009 —  The American Trucking Associations (ATA) today told the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works that climate change legislation would impose significant costs on American consumers.

In his statement on behalf of ATA, Ray Kuntz, Chairman of ATA’s Executive Committee and Immediate Past Chairman of the associations, said that any substantial cost increases imposed directly or indirectly on trucks by climate change legislation will curtail the delivery of vital consumer goods across the nation such as food, medicine, and clothing.

“Constraining the country’s freight delivery system would change our way of life for the worse by significantly increasing the cost of everything we buy,” said Kuntz, who is Chairman and CEO of Watkins and Shepard Trucking, based in Helena, Montana.

A one-cent increase in the average price of diesel costs the trucking industry an additional $390 million in fuel expenses. Petroleum suppliers indicate that climate change legislation could increase the cost of gasoline by 77 cents per gallon and 88 cents per gallon for diesel fuel. As trucking companies struggle with already miniscule margins, additional costs for fuel would be passed on to shippers of goods and materials and ultimately to consumers.

In addition to increased fuel costs, Kuntz addressed six other issues in his testimony relating directly to climate change legislation and the trucking industry:

  • Climate change legislation must address the need to improve highway infrastructure to reduce carbon output
  • Carbon oversight markets must carefully be monitored and transparent to prevent excessive speculation
  • Trucking needs to be addressed differently than passenger vehicles because trucks are not discretionary fuel users
  • State transportation emissions reduction plans must not impede the delivery of goods
  • Federal regulations must preempt regional, state and local carbon laws to prevent a patchwork jumble of laws that would impede transportation efficiency
  • Oil refiners should receive appropriate free carbon allowances for fuel production to help offset significant price increases for refined products

Kuntz serves on ATA’s Sustainability Task Force, which developed a progressive sustainability agenda that will reduce fuel consumption by 86 billion gallons and CO2 emissions by 900 million tons for all vehicles over 10 years by: setting governors on trucks manufactured after 1992 to limit speeds to no more than 65 mph and reducing the national speed limit to 65 mph for all vehicles; reducing engine idling; reducing congestion by improving highways; using more productive truck combinations; supporting national fuel economy standards for trucks; and increasing fuel efficiency by encouraging participation in the U.S. EPA SmartWaySM Transport Partnership Program.

These reasonable measures will bring real results for reducing the trucking industry’s carbon footprint, while at the same time further reducing other regulated emissions, enhancing safety, helping to achieve energy independence, and keeping the nations economic engine churning.

For ATA’s entire sustainability report with detailed explanations, visit www.trucksdeliver.org.

Click here to read the entire testimony from Ray Kuntz.