Hearing on greenhouse gas proposal shows where experienced truckers stand

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | Thursday, August 27, 2015

Truckers on site at the Great America Trucking Show in Dallas had a unique opportunity on Thursday, Aug. 27, to engage in direct conversation with representatives of two federal agencies proposing to further regulate truck emissions and fuel economy standards.

OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Scott Grenerth facilitated the meeting by urging the Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to attend the truck show and hear what truckers have to say about the agencies’ proposed “Phase 2” standards, which would affect trucks, trailers, engines, exhaust and tires.

Grenerth communicated to the officials that truckers are concerned about the ever-increasing cost of new equipment because of additional engineering and technologies touted by the agencies to achieve environmental benchmarks.

OOIDA Life Member Steve Davenport, a longtime safe driver and owner-operator out of Lewisville, Texas, who hauls flatbeds, reiterated those points.

“The economies that determine whether you can be in business or not are determined largely by the cost to maintain the equipment,” Davenport said.

He said experienced, safe drivers like him continue to leave the business or may not stay in business much longer if they are overregulated or forced to drive trucks that have costly – and unproven – technologies on them.

“The truck I own today is an ’03 with a Cat motor, and I’m able to get 6 mpg,” Davenport told the officials.

“The truck has been maintained and, to this point, the truck doesn’t use a gallon of oil between oil changes. I religiously do the PM between 12,000 and 15,000 miles. The truck has been exceptional.”

Davenport has no plans to trade it in on a brand-new model, even if a new one could get 7 or 8 mpg.

Another trucker at the hearing, who was from Missouri and currently drives a new truck, said his next purchase will go back to an “old school” model because he is fed up with the downtime and even dangerous behavior of the new model.

“Probably my next truck will be an old-school truck, a 2001, 02, 03, 04, something like that. Something I can work on. I can’t even change the oil in this truck because it’s all internal,” the trucker said.

“Usually, when I buy trucks, I get a million miles out of them before I get rid of the truck. This one, I have got 500,000 miles on it and it’s burned up, it’s done,” he said. “I’ve got two years of payments left on this truck.”

The trucker had advice for EPA and NHTSA.

“Personally, if the EPA could give any owner-operators an early Christmas present … create a law for lemon trucks. You would have 10,000 owner-operators in line to buy new trucks,” he said.

The truckers thanked EPA and NHTSA for coming to the truck show to meet with truckers about the proposal.

“I don’t want myself to be in a position where I can’t do what I’ve done all my life,” Davenport said.

A public comment period for the proposal by EPA and NHTSA is open through Sept. 17. Visit FightingForTruckers.com for information on how to file comments.

See related story to learn more about the proposed standards:
What you need to know about the latest greenhouse gas proposal

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