Mileage standards could mean the difference between new and used

OOIDA supports efforts to improve fuel economy, but Association leadership believes a set of mileage and efficiency standards proposed by the EPA and the DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will be cost-prohibitive for small-business truckers as they consider whether to buy new or used equipment.

At press time, OOIDA leadership was preparing comments for a scheduled Jan. 30 deadline by EPA/NHTSA on the agencies’ proposed fuel mileage and emission standards for heavy-duty and medium-duty trucks.

OOIDA Foundation research shows that small-business truckers are already holding on to their equipment longer, and many are struggling in the current economy to make big-ticket purchases such as a new truck.

Acting on goals set by President Obama last May, the EPA/NHTSA regulators say that medium- and heavy-duty trucks can obtain 10 to 20 percent better fuel economy and 20 percent reductions in harmful emissions using technology that exists today.

Examples of existing technologies such as aerodynamics, lighter materials, speed limiters and anti-idling equipment were provided in the notice of proposed rulemaking filed in late November 2010.

The feds say a final rule could be in place by the end of this July, targeting model years 2014-2018 for fuel-saving technologies to be required at the point of manufacture.

The EPA and NHTSA held public hearings in November 2010 on the environmental impacts of the proposed efficiency rule. Those hearings were chock-full of environmental groups and equipment manufacturers that support a regulation.

As with many proposals coming out of Washington, OOIDA is poised to be the voice of reason on behalf of small-business truckers who already operate on thin profit margins and may not have the means to rush out and buy new equipment. LL

By David Tanner, associate editor