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Administrator Gina McCarthy, Remarks at ATA Conference SmartWay Awards Ceremony, As Prepared

Thanks for the introduction, Pat. As most of you know, Pat not only drove trucks for a living, but he flew planes, too. So Pat’s a guy who truly understands the transportation industry. Pat, you and so many of you here at this conference, represent an industry that’s the lifeblood of American commerce. In 2012 alone, the U.S. transportation system moved a daily average of about 54 million tons of freight, valued at nearly $48 billion dollars. That’s per day, folks.

According to ATA, truck tonnage this past august reached a record high. And in terms of jobs in the trucking industry that same year, we’re talking about more than 1.3 million. I’m not telling you something you don’t already know. And here’s something you also know, and it’s why we’re here today: the supply chain industry is an integral part of any conversation about a cleaner, more efficient transportation system. And the thing is, when we work together to increase efficiency, not only does it cut pollution, but it cuts costs, and creates jobs.

There’s might not be a better example of successful partnership between industry and government then our SmartWay program. SmartWay is EPA’s flagship program for cutting carbon pollution, and improving fuel efficiency, in the transportation supply chain industry. By sharing tools and information, and normalizing the way we count and track industry metrics, SmartWay partners are empowered to make business decisions that are better informed, and better for their bottom lines.

The reason it works is because you’re driving it, it’s a market-based partnership that helps businesses move goods in the cleanest, most efficient way possible. SmartWay doesn’t just reduce pollution, it helps bring new innovations to market, and helps grow a globally competitive industry that creates jobs. So it’s a win-win-win. This year EPA is marking the program’s 10th anniversary, with 3,000 partners including the nation’s top trucking firms. Many of them are here today, along with shipping customers like Hewlett-Packard, Lowe’s, and many more.

Two weeks ago, we recognized the year’s top-performing shipper and logistics companies with the SmartWay excellence awards. Today, we honor top-performing SmartWay excellence awardees from the trucking industry. I’m thrilled about today’s awardees. I won’t steal your thunder, but let me just say congratulations. And I do want to brag a little bit about what we’ve been able to accomplish through our SmartWay partnership.

We developed SmartWay in 2004, with 15 charter partners and the American trucking associations. Since 2004, SmartWay partners saved more than 120 million barrels of oil, which is critical to American energy security. We’ve also cut more than 50 million metric tons of carbon pollution, that’s roughly the same as pollution from 10 million cars in a year. All that savings means a lot more money in your pockets. We’re talking about almost $17 billion dollars in fuel cost savings. That’s billion, with a “b.” We’re doing so well, that China, Mexico, Canada and the EU recognize SmartWay for its global leadership in transportation supply chain sustainability, and they’re copying us.

And with all this success, we can’t forget how important modernizing our transportation sector is to building a low carbon economy. Fuel efficiency is one of the sharpest tools we have to fight climate change in a commonsense way that fuels growth. You’re all well aware of EPA’s historic fuel efficiency standards for cars and light-duty trucks, those standards are cutting pollution, saving families money at the pump, and fueling a resurgent auto industry that’s added more than 250,000 jobs since 2009. Auto makers didn’t fold, they flourished.

And that’s the same story of progress the trucking industry is writing. By cutting carbon pollution through our SmartWay partnership, we not only confront our climate challenge, we turn it into an opportunity to spur innovation, grow the economy, and save truck-loads of money. Heavy duty trucks account for about 20 percent of our on-road fuel consumption, because truckers haul about 70 percent of all domestic freight, from flat-screen TVs to diapers to produce.

So every mile that we can squeeze out in fuel efficiency is worth thousands of dollars of savings every year…not to mention emissions reductions and less time wasted at the pump. America depends on our trucks to move goods, which is why heavy-duty trucks are the second-largest, and fastest-growing, segment of the U.S. transportation sector in terms of emissions and energy use. Working with the trucking industry, we just put in place the first-ever GHG and fuel efficiency standards for heavy duty vehicles, model year 2014 to 2018. Over that time, we’ll save 530 million barrels of oil and over 270 million metric tons of carbon emissions, not to mention $50 billion dollars in fuel savings. And businesses that buy these trucks have sent a clear message to the 30,000 workers who build them: we want trucks that use less oil, save more money, and cut pollution.

Large SmartWay partner companies, including rivals like Pepsi and Coke; ups and FedEx; and Safeway and Kroger, that usually compete head to head, are joining arm-in-arm to cut oil consumption and replace old fleets with modern, fuel-efficient models. So when you see these companies’ new electric delivery trucks, or natural gas- or biodiesel-powered trucks, it’s because of this partnership. Better gas mileage is going to drive down our oil imports, cut carbon pollution, and reduce businesses’ fuel costs, and that pays off in lower prices for consumers.

Our first step was a big one. And President Obama directed us to go further: to use our great partnership to develop a second round of heavy-duty GHG and fuel economy standards, that will apply to model years 2018 and beyond. For this second round of standards, EPA and the national highway traffic safety administration are also working closely with the California Air Resources Board. I know how important a national program is to your industry. CARB has proposed to adopt our first round of federal GHG standards which is a very positive step as we develop the second round of standards.

We’ll rely on input from all of you, from trucking fleets, heavy-duty truck dealerships, and health groups, to cut emissions while building a transportation sector that will sustain long-term growth. The goal we’re setting is ambitious, but these are areas where ambition has worked out really well for us so far. If anything proves the power of public and private sectors working together, it’s our partnership, and it’s this SmartWay program. There’s too much noise out there days, highlighting our differences. It might make for good TV, or catchy headlines...but when it comes to thinking about the world we leave behind for our kids, what motivates us is not what plays well on the front page, it’s making sure the world we leave behind is one where our health and way of life is protected.

Our partnership has always been an incredible success story of the things we can do, when we come to the table and roll up our sleeves together. Congratulations again to the winners.

Thank you.