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Appeals court: Feds can’t regulate trailers for fuel economy

Appeals court: Feds can’t regulate trailers for fuel economy
A federal appeals court has ruled that heavy-duty trailers cannot be covered by federal regulations on fuel savings.

WASHINGTON — A U.S. appeals court has ruled that heavy-duty truck trailers cannot be covered under fuel-saving rules adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In 2016, those agencies set rules requiring trailer manufacturers to install fuel-saving equipment, such as side skirts and automatic tire pressure systems.”

However, that requirement was challenged by the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association, and a court put a temporary hold on the order.

The appeals court on Nov. 12 said that regulating trailers is akin to regulating bike racks, rooftop cargo carriers or anything similar that “would impact the fuel efficiency of a vehicle.”

“NHTSA can regulate tractors based on the trailers they pull, as can the EPA,” the court said. “But neither NHTSA nor the EPA can regulate trailers themselves. “Trailers … have no motor. They are therefore not ‘motor vehicles.’ Nor are they ‘vehicles’ when that term is used in the context of a vehicle’s fuel economy, since motorless vehicles use no fuel.”

In 2016, the EPA said that as much as one-third of potential reductions in tractor-trailer emissions could be achieved through regulation of the trailer’s equipment and design alone.

The EPA and NHTSA have not yet commented on the ruling.

The Trucker News Staff

The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.

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The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.
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