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ATA questions impact of climate change legislation on fuel prices

ARLINGTON, Va. -- A top trucking official has urged Congress to take a cautious approach to climate change initiat...

ARLINGTON, Va. — A top trucking official has urged Congress to take a cautious approach to climate change initiatives, and expressed concern about the impact of pending cap-and-trade legislation could have on the price of fuel.

Testifying on behalf of the American Trucking Associations, Con-way’s Randy Mullett stated that federal climate change policy must avoid encouraging a patchwork of local, state, and regional climate change laws, which could hinder the ability of the trucking industry to function in interstate commerce. Citing the nation’s 750,000 motor carriers which deliver goods across state lines, Mullet, Con-way’s vice-president of government relations and public affairs, said the industry supports federal preemption of local, state and regional climate change laws.

“The trucking industry is concerned over what cap-and-trade legislation will do to the price of fuel we consume,” Mullett told a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “Our industry cannot absorb rapid increases in fuel costs. The trucking industry is extremely sensitive to how climate change legislation may further escalate fuel prices. ATA is urging Congress to carefully evaluate fuel price impacts that result from climate change legislation.”

Currently, governmental entities are enacting localized climate change initiatives, which Mullett said is “unworkable and impracticable” given the interstate and diverse nature of trucking. Mullett added that cap-and-trade programs, the primary mechanism being discussed to promote carbon reductions, are more effectively applied to stationary sources. A widely diverse regulatory patchwork would impede the delivery of the nation’s goods by creating varied economic and administrative regulations that will serve as barriers to an efficient transportation system, according to the ATA.

The ATA believes that the trucking industry has been doing its part to develop its greenhouse gas reduction plan, beginning in 2006, before serious climate debates in Congress even began.

Taking into account the unique nature of the trucking industry, the ATA has identified six key recommendations to reduce fuel consumption and address the impact of these activities on the environment, which are to: “reduce the national speed limit to 65 mph for all vehicles, and set governors on new trucks to limit speeds to no more than 68 mph; reduce engine idling; increase fuel efficiency by encouraging participation in the US EPA SmartWay transport partnership program; reduce congestion by improving highways, (and) if necessary by raising the fuels tax; use more productive truck combinations; and support national fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks.”

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