EPA's '07 resolution: fewer emissions, cleaner air

| 12/29/2006

With the New Year upon us, the Environmental Protection Agency is making its own resolution for 2007 - fewer emissions from the trucking industry.

As most truckers know, Monday, Jan. 1, marks the first day for new EPA regulations aimed at reducing emissions from diesel engines. Under the new rules, all new truck engines sold will produce an estimated 98 percent less particulate matter.

The new emissions standards arrive just a few months after the requirement for ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) to replace low-sulfur diesel as the standard went into effect.

For many fleet managers and owner-operators hoping to buy new, the updated engine requirements - which are expected to add thousands of dollars to the cost of a new truck - have caused a significant pre-buy of 2006 model-year and older models.

A number of OEMs, including Freightliner, International Truck and Engine Corp., and Volvo, have announced layoffs at several of their truck-making facilities, citing pre-buy and lagging sales as two of the leading causes.

And if you think the 2007 standards are tough, you haven't seen anything yet. In 2010, the EPA will implement another set of particulate-reducing regulations - a standard that already has engine manufacturers scratching their heads as they try to figure out the best possible way to build compliant trucks.