Comment period extended on proposed truck emissions, fuel economy reg

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | 8/31/2015

Responding directly to a request and concerns aired by OOIDA and others including some manufacturers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have agreed to extend through Oct. 1 the agencies’ comment period on their joint proposal to regulate truck emissions and fuel economy.

The initial comment period was to last through Sept. 17. The agencies notified OOIDA of the extra two weeks by letter, dated Monday, Aug. 31.

The proposal, known as greenhouse gas Phase 2, or GHG Phase 2, stands to regulate just about every aspect of truck, trailer and tire design, from aerodynamics and rolling resistance to engine output and key-off technologies. The proposal is built on somewhat of an “a la carte” menu of options that manufacturers can choose from to meet desired gains for lower carbon emissions and increased fuel economy in heavy trucks.

The agencies have held two official public hearings and one additional meeting geared to the input of small-business truckers on the proposal. At each of those meetings, and in writing, OOIDA has insisted that more time be provided for the Association and others to process the proposal so that the interests and bottom lines of small-business truckers are represented.

OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Scott Grenerth attended meetings and spoke on behalf of truckers. He is named in the agencies’ response.

“In your letter and in Scott Grenerth’s testimony at the Aug. 6, 2015 public hearing, you requested additional time to review and provide substantive comment on the Heavy-Duty Phase 2 Rules. We also received similar requests,” EPA and NHTSA officials stated in their response letter.

“EPA and NHTSA are responding to these requests for extension of the comment period for the joint proposed rules by extending the comment period to October 1, 2015.”

Grenerth says that an extension is necessary, given the 1,300-plus pages of proposal and supporting documents published by the agencies in their effort to regulate trucks, trailers, tires, engines, exhaust systems – and even glider kits – through model year 2027.

“A two week extension is not a game-changer,” Grenerth told Land Line Magazine. “But it is an opportunity we must utilize. With over 20,000 comments submitted to the docket already, we can be assured they are not all by people who have carefully analyzed all the data in the massive proposed rule. Truckers must speak up and share their experiences with previous rulemakings. They must insist that the agencies use accurate information for cost-benefit analysis.”

The proposed GHG Phase 2 standards would add, according to agency estimates, $10,000 to $13,000 to the price of new trucks.

OOIDA has questioned EPA cost estimates during previous proposals and final rules for emissions, and is in contact with manufacturers and other groups to independently analyze and verify cost-benefits to truck buyers who are the end users.

Grenerth points out that EPA and NHTSA estimate an auxiliary power unit, or APU, to average about $4,800. By experience, OOIDA and truckers say that price would be more like $9,000 to $12,000 installed.

Learn more about the GHG Phase 2 proposal here. The link includes instructions on how to comment.

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