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Trucking stakeholders give mostly positive response to 2nd GHG rule

Daimler Trucks North America, not a member of the coalition, never-the-less gave its strong support to phase two of the standards.

The Trucker Staff

2/18/2014

Phase two of greenhouse gas (GHG) and fuel economy standards for heavy-duty trucks announced today by President Barack Obama got mostly positive comments from trucking stakeholders, although the American Trucking Associations cautioned that they must be economically feasible and reflect trucking’s diversity.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) says the standards will continue to push the cost of new trucks skyward, thereby forcing many small-business truckers and fleet owners to hold onto older trucks and put off buying new equipment as long as they can.

According to the EPA’s own numbers, the 2014-2018 standards will add approximately $6,200 to the price of a new truck. The administration has not yet released how much the second round will increase the cost of those trucks.

“Shock and awe may be the best way to describe what’s happening to the vast majority in trucking with these proposed regulations,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA executive vice president. “Each year for the past 10, more and more truckers are squeezed out of the option to buy new equipment because of ever increasing prices due to government requirements that are long on promises but way short on performance.”

ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said the lobbying group had stood “shoulder-to-shoulder” with Obama in 2011 when the first phase of the standards were announced, and hoped the second phase would be “both based on the best sceience and research available and economically achievable.”

And, ATA Chairman Phil Byrd, president of Bulldog Hiway Express, added that the standards must reflect the diversity of trucking and should “accurately reflect what drivers face on the roads every day.”

A coalition of trucking fleets, engine manufacturers and technology suppliers responded more favorably, or least without the caveats.

Finalization of the fuel-efficiency standards for heavy-duty trucks is “an important milestone” that will lead to significant economic and environmental benefits, commented Douglas W. Stotlar, president and CEO of Con-way Inc., a member of the coalition.

Tom Linebarger, Cummins Chairman and CEO, another coalition member, also touted the benefits of the second phase of GHG standards, extolling the industry’s SuperTruck program as a prime example of how public and private organizations have come together to use technological innovation “to drive business and environmental success.”

Phase two of the HD truck standards are estimated to save $50 billion in fuel costs, and Obama, in his announcement today, noted that “Heavy-duty trucks account for just 4 percent of all the vehicles on the highway.  I know when you’re driving sometimes it feels like it’s more — but they’re only 4 percent of all the vehicles.  But they’re responsible for about 20 percent of carbon pollution in the transportation sector. 

“So trucks like these are responsible for about 20 percent of our on-road fuel consumption.  And because they haul about 70 percent of all domestic freight — 70 percent of the stuff we use, everything from flat-screen TVs to diapers to produce to you name it — every mile that we gain in fuel efficiency is worth thousands of dollars of savings every year. 

 “So that’s why we’re investing in research to get more fuel economy gains.”

Pointing to the SuperTruck, he added that “ … The truck behind me was able to achieve a 75 percent improvement in fuel economy over the last year — 75 percent.  That’s why we call this “SuperTruck.” 

Alexander M. Cutler, chairman and CEO of Eaton, a coalition member, said his company strongly supports the next phase of standards because “They provide important incentives to help deploy the next generation of fuel-efficient technologies. Eaton stands ready to provide cost-effective hybrid and advanced drivetrain technologies that make vehicles more efficient while achieving significant operational savings for our customers’ commercial vehicle fleets.”

Daimler Trucks North America, not a member of the coalition, never-the-less gave its strong support to phase two of the standards.

"DTNA is committed to regulatory leadership and we applaud standards that include total cost of ownership as a primary benefit for our customers," said Sean Waters, director of product compliance and regulatory affairs.  

“Vehicle standards that incorporate the engine and vehicle will allow Daimler Trucks North America to continue to exceed customers’ expectations through our industry leading vehicle integration model,” he added.  

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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