"With no political will by policy makers to increase the gas tax, we must look for other practical solutions that ensure the nation's transportation needs are satisfied," says AEM President Dennis Slater.

"They are smart ideas, and we are evaluating them," commented AGC's Shoaf of the AEM plan.

The new CAFE standards would save consumers $1.7 trillion at the pump, or $8,000 per vehicle, through 2025 and significantly reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil, policy makers argue.

“This agreement on fuel standards represents the single most important step we’ve ever taken as a nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” says President Obama.

Construction firms running fleets of light cars, trucks and SUVs would stand to gain from the standards in terms of lower operating costs. However, those savings would be a drop compared to the amount of work they stand to lose, notes William Buechner, ARTBA's economist.

"Any benefit from increased fuel efficiency of light equipment would be overwhelmed by the negative impact on the HTF."