A v
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Inspector General
At a Glance
August 30, 2012
Why We Did This Review
We sought to determine how the
U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) ensures the
validity of the SmartWay
Transport program results. EPA
established the SmartWay
Transport Partnership in 2004.
It is a voluntary collaboration
between EPA and the freight
industry (carriers, shippers,
logistics companies, etc.) to
improve fuel efficiency and
reduce environmental impacts
from freight transport. Almost
2,900 SmartWay partners,
employing about 650,000 trucks,
have traveled nearly 43 billion
miles on average each year,
according to EPA. Since the
program's inception, EPA
estimates it has saved about
50 million barrels of oil (as of
March 2011), resulting in reduced
air pollution. Also, envisioned
future carbon dioxide reductions
from EPA's September 2011
standards for heavy-duty 2014-
2018 model year vehicles will
depend heavily on EPA's
SmartWay technologies and
This report addresses the
following EPA Goal or Cross-
Cutting Strategy:
 Taking action on climate
change and improving air
For further information, contact
our Office of Congressional and
Public Affairs at (202) 566-2391.
The full report is at:
EPA Could Improve the SmartWay Transport
Partnership Program by Implementing a
Direct Data Verification Process
What We Found
Recent studies corroborate EPA's claims that its SmartWay Transport
Partnership program helps remove marketplace barriers in order to deploy fuel
efficient technologies faster. To calculate SmartWay program emission
reductions, EPA relies on self-reported industry data. EPA's Office of
Transportation and Air Quality performs some checks of data provided by
industry. However, there is no independent direct verification by EPA of data
submitted by SmartWay participants. The risk of false claims was highlighted in
2011 when EPA became aware of a case where a company was alleged to
have improperly used the SmartWay logo.
There is an incentive for carriers to obtain and maintain high scores. Carrier
performance scores are listed on EPA's SmartWay website. The carriers that
receive the highest scores are more likely to be selected by more shippers. As
more and more shippers join SmartWay, the economic incentives for carriers to
achieve higher scores on EPA's website may increase, which could also
increase the potential that a carrier would submit data that overstates its
In our view, the SmartWay Transport Partnership program may lose its value if
EPA does not protect the integrity of its program by implementing some form of
direct verification or other measures to deter companies from submitting data
that result in overstated scores.
Recommendations and Planned Agency Corrective Actions
We recommend that the Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation develop
and implement direct verification or other measures to verify the accuracy of a
sample of the self-reported, industry data for the SmartWay Transport
Partnership. EPA agreed with the OIG on the importance of ensuring the
integrity of program results and proposed a five step process to better ensure
the accuracy of partner data. EPA's planned actions are a step in the right
direction. EPA should describe any additional planned corrective actions in its
90-day response to the final report.
Noteworthy Achievements
Representatives from environmental, retail, and trucking associations consider
EPA's SmartWay program an effective program for reducing fuel costs and the
environmental impact of freight movement. Further, the number of partners in
the SmartWay Transport Partnership has grown considerably since 2008.