White House proposes new round of truck emissions reductions

By Kevin Jones on
Trucking industry officials and Cabinet members join President Obama at the White House in 2011 as he signs the first-ever fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty vehicles. (White House photo)

Trucking industry representatives and Cabinet officials join President Obama at the White House in 2011 as he signs the first-ever fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty vehicles. (White House photo)

The trucking industry can expect another round of emissions regulations, courtesy a second-term climate change initiative from President Barack Obama. Truck makers, who worked with the White House on the original heavy-duty vehicle plan, say they support the effort to improve fuel economy — but any new standards must make economic sense for truck owners.

Tucked into a speech outlining the administration’s Climate Action Plan, which focuses on stationary sources of greenhouse gases (GHG) such as fossil-fueled power plants, the president also addressed energy conservation.

“The fuel standards we set over the past few years mean that by the middle of the next decade, the cars and trucks we buy will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. That means you’ll have to fill up half as often; we’ll all reduce carbon pollution,” he said Tuesday. “And we built on that success by setting the first-ever standards for heavy-duty trucks and buses and vans. And in the coming months, we’ll partner with truck makers to do it again for the next generation of vehicles.”

Though the president’s remarks regarding transportation were brief, the impact could be far-reaching: The trucking industry is still phasing in those original heavy-duty fuel efficiency standards, set by the Obama administration in 2011. And even though truck and engine makers began announcing EPA certification for 2014 equipment as early as last year, the model-year 2018 GHG standards are more comprehensive and challenging.

Unlike automobile fuel efficiency standards, the truck measure does not set a miles-per-gallon target, given the multiple categories and different types of vehicles, along with the multitude of applications for which the heavy-duty vehicles are designed and built.

Still, the initial heavy-duty standards will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 270 million metric tons and save 530 million barrels of oil worth more than $50 billion, according to the White House. The new climate plan also notes that heavy-duty vehicles are currently the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions within the transportation sector.

The president’s proposal comes on the heels of a report by the Diesel Technology Forum that one-in-four trucks on the road are now equipped with 2007 or later emissions mitigation technology and output almost no particulate matter.

And after the turmoil surrounding the expensive and performance-reducing engine technology developed to meet the rigorous federal limits on NOx in 2007 and 2010, heavy-duty truck and engine makers made sure they had a seat at the table for the original GHG program. Company representatives now say they will participate in the development of any new standards.

“Environmental care has long been a Volvo core value, so we support the administration’s ongoing focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” says Susan Alt, senior vice president, Volvo Group public affairs. “We appreciate that the administration is again taking a collaborative approach and seeking the industry’s input for this latest round of heavy-duty vehicle standards. We look forward to working together to develop environmentally beneficial standards that also take into consideration the associated economic and operational challenges.”

A Daimler Trucks North America spokesman echoed those remarks.

“DTNA applauds efforts to reduce carbon emissions as evidenced by our leadership and looks forward to improving fuel economy and reducing carbon emissions without sacrificing future vehicle performance,” says Sean Waters, director of compliance and regulatory affairs, referring to parent company Daimler AG’s global “Shaping Future Transportation” initiative, which focuses on reducing pollutants, carbon dioxide and fuel consumption.

Some in the trucking industry question the president’s new plan, however.

“The EPA’s insistence on using the same, one-size fits all approach has created a never-ending cycle resulting in no progress,” Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Director of Government Affairs Ryan Bowley says. “Smaller businesses put off purchasing new, and so older equipment remains in operation. Then the agency issues more regulations in response to no progress taking place.”

OOIDA notes the original GHG standards add $6,200 to the price of a new truck, according to estimates.

Additionally, based on Obama’s speech, the Keystone XL pipeline — supported by many in trucking — will face continued delays, with the White House directing the State Department not to approve the project if an analysis determines the pipeline would increase carbon emissions.

And while much of the trucking industry is taking a look at natural gas as an alternative fuel, the president did not announce any timetable for federal action.

“The president’s speech once again calls for increasing the use of domestic natural gas in heavy duty transportation, and he’s to be commended for that,” oilman and energy investor T. Boone Pickens said in a statement. “But it’s important to note that he has called for that before. A plan without action isn’t a plan, it’s a speech.”

Pickens, slated to deliver the opening address at the Commercial Vehicle Outlook Conference in Dallas Aug. 21, called for “specific legislative proposals and regulatory actions” to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and U.S. use of OPEC oil.

Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones is Senior Editor, Trucking Media, and writes from his home in Little Rock, Ark. His Fleet Street blog features whatever strikes his fancy and has at least a little connection to trucks, or drivers, or highways. Or David Allan Coe. (Google "the perfect country and western song" if you're not nearly as old as Kevin is.) You can also keep up with Kevin by following his Twitter feed (@KevinJonesCCJ) or just drop him a line: kevin.jones@randallreilly.com.

15 comments
JosephLynch
JosephLynch

This is not about cleaning the air.

It is about controlling you.

Climate change just happen to be the best thing that stuck to the wall.

Buckle your chinstrap and put your mouthpiece in cause you aint seen nothing yet.

 

 

 

kaner
kaner

The time is fast approaching where trucking companies will no longer be able afford to purchase new trucks!  Each EPA mandated change adds approx $8000.00 to the price of a new tractor.  Guess who ends up paying?  That's right, the consumer the next time he walks into a grocery store.  Thank-you, "Green Terrorists" and their lobby groups.

contractor101
contractor101

I have a 2009 Pete service truck that only has 1,200 hours on it because of the slow economy the last 5 years. Last week the engine light and and the particulate filter light came on so into the local Cummins dealer to get fixed, because there is no way a private individual can run all the tests without a large investment in software.  $4,500 dollars later for a new turbo and particulate filter I was on the road again and Cummins was even nice enough to split the cost on the parts because of the low hours.  Trying to keep these new trucks running is going to be very expensive, especially if they idle allot.   I have heard the newer trucks with the urea injection are even worse.

crestonflash
crestonflash

Looking at the projected numbers reinforces the old adage that figures don't lie, but liars figure.  You figure out which is correct.  It is not hard to see.  Between the HOS rules and the possibility of reduced speed limits for trucks, how much more congestion is that going to create.  You have X tons of freight to haul, reduced driving hours and speed, do the math.  I am so fed up with this Chicago libratard who has never had a real job and does not care about anything as long as it makes him look good.

 

BTW how many tons of carbon were emitted on his vacation, err trip to Africa?  

Jerry mm
Jerry mm

i own a Trucking company in Redding, CA. Obama and his people dont know the impact they will have on consumers. Tires have doubled in price over the last couple of years. Everything has gone up except rates. Wait till Jan 1, 2014 and see what the Carb bill does to the economy. The companies that are still in business are going to get even and rich when all these laws go into effect!

Gordon A
Gordon A

Has any one noticed the huge amounts of smoke the train engines  produce and seem to never shut off even when on a siding? Is our ever vigilant government going to target them , doubtful tho  as they are keeping obama and  his minions in their pocket too.

Unless the American trucker takes a stand  and let their voices and demands and needs  be heard loud and clear we are doomed to being nothing more than robots in a few short years. Between an idiot  in Washington and the unions the independent is going to be a memory in the annals of the history books.

Gordon A
Gordon A

Demanding a given MPG on  a CMV is like ordering a fish to  grab your worm when fishing. Ain't gonna happen.

In one day there are far too many variables such as weight, weather, temp, traffic, road conditions and the drivers  skill at driving  to come anywhere near what they are going to demand. Along with this MPG mandate that is coming  will be a speed limit not unlike the mandated 55mph  we endured a few years ago.. Yes going slower is a given for better fuel mileage up to a  point but where do the two meet for a good compromise? It doesn't.

I don't understand how people that know nothing about a subject can go public and tell us how to do it.  Then again we are talking about Government employees.

The only thing that will fix this  and many other problems this country is facing  is for Americans to take action to undo the rectal  cranial inversion  virus that has been sweeping this county in epidemic  strides the last 6 years.

WebbKline
WebbKline

Can this president say anything without lying? I am fed up with this BS. So let me get this straight, he says we're going to save 530 million barrels of oil by going with the new emissions standards, yet when I compare all of our trucks with egr equipment with our older trucks without egr equipment, the egr trucks get anywhere from 1.5 to 3.2 mpg less than the older trucks. A 2 mpg difference at 150000 miles per year, is a difference to 8650 gallons or upwards of 2 tanker loads of fuel. Why do we keep believing these lies? If global warming really is a concern, then to dupe the public into believing you're really doing something about it, when in reality, the policies you're implementing are actually harmful to the environment, is beyond evil and certainly qualifies as a crime against humanity.

oklaroadrunner
oklaroadrunner

Trucking is almost the only industry left for the mom and pop operation. 10 years ago trucks was 80,000 for a new well equipped truck. That same truck is now 200,000. It will cost the small trucking companies about 9000.00 a truck to put particulate filters on each truck. The big 3PL's will be happy about this but the small companies aren't. The new and improved mandates from EPA, DOT and FMCSA has pretty much made it where the small guy isn't going to make it.

I know this because I am one of those small guys. I spend a lot  of money keeping my trucks up. Trying to keep the drivers up on all new regulations and these entity's still find ways of making you spend more.

oklaroadrunner
oklaroadrunner

I see where they label trucking as the second largest contributor. Why not go after the first. Oh I forgot they have Obama in their pockets.

 

Eugerne
Eugerne

what about all the jets in the air???????????????

lostintrucks
lostintrucks

 @Jerry mm

 then why havent you already raised your rates ? if all the companys in ca doulbed your rates right out of the gate you would have sent a clear message to ca

Gordon A
Gordon A

 @WebbKline well said and stated. Now if these  figures of real gallons and the  real cost   could be made  public the American people would  see the lies. That is if the media cooperates.

Gordon A
Gordon A

 @lostintrucks  @Jerry mm  One reason the rates aren't raised is pretty simple. The pressure is not on the state of California nor it's industry.  Jan  2014 I can say I told you so loud an clear. Tens of Thousands of trucks in and out of Ca will not be able to operate in CA. The ones that are able will charge accordingly and we all will pay more for veggies, fruits and other stuff from and to Ca. And to clarify something Lostintruck is it would be called monopolization and against the law per your statement  why hasn't the trucking cos doubled their  rates..  Carriers cannot band together and  set rates.  Illegal.