By Joseph Evangelist
Executive Vice President, Transervice
As originally appeared in FleetOwner Magazine’s IdeaXchange
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking seeking input on the next round of emissions regulations for the trucking industry. These regs would be designed to further reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) output and other air pollutants.
Andrew Wheeler, EPA administrator, acknowledged that the U.S. already has seen major reductions in NOx emissions, but added that “through this initiative we will continue to reduce emissions, while spurring innovative new technologies, ensuring heavy-duty trucks are clean and remain a competitive method of transportation.”
In fact, through the course of the previous rounds of emissions regulations, NOx and particulate matter emissions coming out of truck tailpipes have been reduced by 90%. I think you can agree, that is a pretty significant reduction.
And while I am not against clean air, we have to remember that the trucking industry paid a steep price for these dramatic reductions that have already been achieved. Not only did we see the cost of emissions-compliant vehicles increase, but during some periods we also saw a degradation in fuel economy, somewhat of a double whammy in my book.
The full notice is 97 pages long, and once it is published in the Federal Register, we will have 30 days to comment. I encourage each and every one of you to send a comment to the EPA. I plan to ask them to keep in mind the impact of new systems — that undoubtedly will be required to meet the emissions reduction goals — will have on the price of a new truck.
I also will ask them to factor in the serviceability of whatever solution is needed, because not only have trucks that meet emissions standards cost more to buy, they also have cost more to service. And I will ask them to be mindful of any hit performance trucks will take as NOx is reduced even further. At some point, I think consideration should be given to tax credits for the purchase of vehicles meeting these new requirements.
Wheeler stated publicly that he wants trucks to remain a competitive mode of transportation. They won’t be if they cost more to buy and service, and if they are getting fewer miles to the gallon.
I am sure we all want clean air, but we also want trucks that we can operate and still make a profit. I don’t think that is too much to ask given how much trucking has already given to make itself more environmentally responsible.