Climate plan calls for heavy trucks to burn less, emit less beyond 2018

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 6/25/2013

Small-business truckers say President Obama’s new plan to boost fuel economy and emission standards for heavy trucks beyond model year 2018 will only add to the growing cost of new equipment.

The president announced standards for post-2018 trucks on Tuesday, June 25, as part of a broader plan he says will address climate change, carbon emissions and clean energy alternatives.

The post-2018 standards will be a continuation of the first ever fuel economy and emission standards enacted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and set to take effect for model years 2014 through 2018, according to a White House document titled “The President’s Climate Action Plan.”

OOIDA points out that the 2014-2018 standards are expected to add about $6,200 to the price of a new truck.

“The current standards haven’t even been fully implemented yet, and truck manufacturers have already expressed concerns that they’ll even be able to meet EPA’s standards in the latter years of the regulation,” OOIDA Director of Government Affairs Ryan Bowley said.

“Given that, what will another round of regulations entail after 2018, and what will those regulations add to the growing cost of a new truck?”

Bowley says the signs point to regulations that incorporate the trailer in addition to the tractor.

“Every ‘looking ahead’ document they’ve brought forward for this next round of regulations has pointed to the trailer,” Bowley said, and that could affect a trucker’s ability to spec equipment for an individual niche or business model.

Fuel continues to be the biggest cost for a trucking business. It’s not uncommon for an owner-operator trucker to buy 20,000 gallons of fuel in a year. While large fleets have the volume to budget for equipment replacement, smaller businesses do not realize the benefits as quickly and may put off an equipment purchase.

“The agency has taken a one-size-fits-all approach to this issue in the past,” Bowley said. “All it does is continue older equipment operating, and then the administration’s dream of efficiency doesn’t get done. … Then they issue more regulations to address the fact that efficiency is not getting done.”

Click here to view a White House fact sheet about the plan and to download the full document.

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