Costs of EPA’s 2004-10 emissions rules questioned
Mandates led to more expensive trucks, lower sales, layoffs, study contends
The National Automobile Dealers Association and American Truck Dealers on March 8 released a report that questions the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s cost analysis of emissions control requirements for model year 2004-10 commercial trucks. The mandates resulted in higher prices for commercial vehicles, depressed sales and delayed the environmental benefits that EPA originally sought, the groups argued.
The groups said the study, which looks back at the 2004-10 medium- and heavy-duty truck emissions mandates, reveals that EPA underestimated actual compliance costs on average by a factor of two to five. “It shows what can happen when a regulatory proposal – based on far-in-advance predictions – seeks to set mandates far in the future,” the groups said.
In 1997, 2000 and 2001, EPA published rules establishing a series of emissions mandates for heavy-duty trucks to be phased-in between model years 2004 and 2010. NADA and ATD said the “technology-forcing” control strategies and technologies resulted in higher prices for new heavy-duty trucks; significantly higher operating costs, attributable largely to increased maintenance requirements; reduced reliability; and lower fuel economy.
The groups argued that all of those factors combined led to disruptions in the new truck marketplace, including significant layoffs caused by unprecedented truck prebuys and sales “cliffs”; capital constraints for truck and engine manufacturers, suppliers and dealers; and the departure of businesses from the heavy-duty truck market.
“Some Western Star invoices listed an engine emissions escalator of almost $4,200,” said Doug Greenhaus, NADA/ATD chief regulatory counsel for environment, health and safety issues. “Some of the Volvo invoices listed a 2007 EPA surcharge of $7,500.” Meanwhile, a dealer bulletin issued by Peterbilt indicated that “effective at the January 1, 2010 price level, a surcharge will be added to the invoice of chassis built with a 2010 EPA-complaint aftertreatment.” The surcharge was as much as $9,250.
The higher-than-projected costs resulted in, among other things, lower-than-projected new truck sales, which reduced the environmental benefits associated with these standards, the groups said. NADA and ATD said the lessons learned from their report are likely to apply to the proposed MY 2017-2025 fuel economy regulations for light-duty vehicles.
“That rulemaking, combined with previous Obama administration fuel economy mandates, will raise the average price of a vehicle by $3,000, according to EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates,” the groups said.
ATA files issues statement in HOS challenge
In a filing last month with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the American Trucking Associations identified four areas where it argues the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s recent hours-of-service rule falls short of legal standards for regulatory changes. ATA on Feb. 14 had asked the court to review the rule.
Specifically, ATA questioned changes to the restart provision requiring that it include two consecutive periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.; limits on the frequency with which a driver may use the restart; the requirement that a mandatory 30-minute break from driving also exclude all other on-duty activity; and narrowing certain exceptions to drive-time regulations for local delivery drivers.
“While we had hoped to avoid litigation by providing FMCSA with overwhelming evidence that their rulemaking process and proposals were flawed, now that we have challenged this regulation, we will do so vigorously and vocally,” said Bill Graves, ATA president and chief executive officer. “The unsoundness of this regulatory process has forced us into court.”
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