President of Local 171 at Volvo Powertrain touts benefits of new federal fuel-efficiency standards

David Perkins takes part in National Wildlife Federation teleconference

August 18, 2011|By DON AINES |
  • Mack Trucks/Volvo Powertrain in Hagerstown is shown in this file photo. David Perkins, union president of Local 171 at Volvo Powertrain, participated Thursday in the National Wildlife Federation teleconference.
Herald-Mail file photo

Plumes of diesel exhaust billowing out of the stacks of a Mack truck is a "picture that belongs in the history books," David Perkins of the United Auto Workers said Thursday during a teleconference.

The union president of Local 171 at Volvo Powertrain in Hagerstown was taking part in the National Wildlife Federation teleconference to tout the benefits of new federal fuel-efficiency standards.

Newer engine technologies mean more power and torque produced with less fuel and fewer emissions, Perkins said.

Zoe Lipman, the senior manager for Transportation Solutions at the National Wildlife Federation, and Erika Nielsen, the director of Marketing and Public Relations at BorgWarner Inc., also participated in the teleconference.

"At our state-of-the-art Volvo Powertrain Engine Development Laboratory, we also design and test the next generation of fuel-efficient engines," Perkins said.

Developing that technology here will keep jobs in America, he said.

The UAW local represents more than 1,000 workers at the Hagerstown plant, Perkins said.

The teleconference was held to discuss new fuel-efficiency standards announced recently by President Obama that call for fuel savings of 10 percent in heavy-duty gas pickups and 15 percent for heavy-duty diesel pickups between 2014-18.

Tractor-trailers like those produced by Mack and Volvo would have to increase fuel efficiency from 9 percent to 23 percent during that period, according to the National Wildlife Federation.

The standards would result in savings of about $42 billion in fuel costs, reduced demand for imported oil and a reduction of several hundred million tons of greenhouse gases, Lipman said.

There would be "modest additional up-front costs" for the new technology, amounting to about $1,200 for a pickup and $6,000 for tractor-trailers, Lipman said.

But those costs would be offset by savings over the lifetimes of the vehicles, up to $74,000 on tractor-trailers, she said.

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