FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 26, 2005
NATIONAL CONTACT: Brian O’Malley, 202-675-6279
TEXAS CONTACTS: Chris Wilhite, Sierra Club, 512-472-9094 or 512-576-0814
Donna Hoffman, Sierra Club, 512-477-1729 or 512-299-5776
Scott Reynolds, Essential Gardens, 512-801-6610

 Lone Star Chapter

AMERICAN PICKUP TRUCK DRIVERS TO DETROIT:
"MAKE TRUCKS GO FARTHER ON GALLON OF GAS"

Report: Improving Truck Fuel Economy Means Saving Money and Protecting the Environment

WASHINGTON , DC — American pickup truck drivers would have saved over $16.6 billion at the gas pump, conserved 9.3 billion gallons of gasoline, and eliminated more than 130 million tons of CO2 pollution last year if U.S. automakers had used existing automotive technology to improve the fuel economy of pickups, according to a report released by the Sierra Club today.

With high gas prices putting the pinch on Memorial Day weekend travelers, the Sierra Club’s new report and online gas savings calculator –www.sierraclub.org/gascosts – demonstrate that the technology exists today to make all vehicles – from sedans, to SUVs, to pickup trucks – get better fuel economy to save money, curb global warming, and cut oil consumption.

“The biggest single step we can take to saving money at the gas pump and cutting pollution is to make our vehicles go farther on a gallon of gas,” said Glen Brand of the Sierra Club’s Global Warming and Energy Program. “ Detroit has the technology to make all vehicles, including pickup trucks, get better fuel economy. It’s time to put that technology to work.”

The Sierra Club’s new report, “Shifting Out Of Reverse: Making Pickup Trucks Go Farther on a Gallon of Gas” reports that by installing proven, off-the-shelf technology, the average pickup driver would have saved over $440 in gasoline costs last year and kept 3.4 tons per driver of heat-trapping carbon dioxide pollution (CO2)—the main pollutant that causes global warming—out of the air.

Since pickup trucks get some of the worst fuel economy of any vehicle on the road, pickup drivers are often hit the hardest by rising gas prices. If existing, fuel-saving technology was standard in light trucks, the average American pickup truck driver would have saved an estimated over $1,900 in net savings at the gas pump over the lifetime of their truck.

“If Detroit could give me ten more miles per gallon on my trucks, I’d be able to hire two more workers for my crew,” said Scott Reynolds, who uses a new 1/2 –ton Ford pickup and a new 3/4 –ton Dodge Ram for his growing landscape business, Essential Gardens, in Austin, Texas. “I need my trucks for the work I do. But that does not mean that I don’t want better fuel economy and I don’t care about the environment.”

Increasing the fuel economy of America’s pickup trucks would also strengthen national security by cutting America’s oil dependence. Increasing the fuel economy of the average American pickup truck by 66% would have saved nearly 9.3 billion gallons of gasoline over the past year, representing over 600,000 barrels of oil per day—more than the U.S. currently imports from Iraq each year.

The report explains that according to research by the Union of Concerned Scientists, using existing modern fuel saving technology could raise the fuel economy of a full-size Chevy Silverado from 20.3 MPG to 33.7 MPG. Examples of this technology—advanced ignitions, sleeker designs, smarter transmissions, high-tech engines, and high strength, light weight materials—are already standard in some vehicles, but should be in all.

“Especially at a time of rising gas prices, pickup truck drivers need better technology choices to save money, reduce pollution and cut America's oil dependence,” continued Brand. “ Detroit can do better, and American pickup drivers deserve better.”

The full report, which includes average driver and state savings data, is available online at www.sierraclub.org/globalwarming.

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