PhotoIn the 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama mentioned various “green” initiatives, including high fuel-economy standards for heavy trucks.

Some environmentalists criticized this for not going far enough. A writer for AutoblogGreen noted “The green car rhetoric of President Obama's State Of The Union speech last night was much, much softer than it was three years ago …. It was even less vociferous than last year.”

But the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is taking a more optimistic view, releasing a report claiming that, if implemented, the proposed fuel standards will save American households a collective $29.5 billion — averaging $250 per household per year.

The full report, Paying the Freight, is available in .pdf form here. It concluded that American households currently pay about $1,100 per year in fuel costs for medium and heavy trucks. This number is not immediately visible to ordinary consumers, of course, because when you buy something in a store, you're not told how much of the price reflects the cost of shipping the item from factory to store.

The CFA also said lower fuel costs would surely result in lower retail prices for consumers “[b]ecause the transportation sector is very competitive, [so] the related cost savings in fuel will be passed through to consumers.” 

Though the bulk of the report focused on dollar-and-cent matters, it did also mention the environmental benefits that would accrue from reduced fossil-fuel use, as well as the national security benefit of reducing American dependence on oil imported from countries which don't necessarily like us.

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