Caterpillar recalls 590,000 Acert engines
$2.55M penalty part of Clean Air Act settlement
Caterpillar agreed to pay a $2.55 million penalty – $2.04 million to the United States and $510,000 to the state of California – as part of a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice for alleged Clean Air Act violations. The Peoria, Ill.-based company allegedly shipped more than 590,000 Acert highway and non-road diesel engines without correct emissions controls, according to EPA. Caterpillar also allegedly failed to comply with emissions control reporting and engine labeling requirements.
The settlement announced July 28 requires Cat to recall the known defective engines, install the correct ATDs – devices that control engine exhaust emissions once the emissions have exited the engine and entered the exhaust system – and reprogram the fuel injector and fuel map settings. The recall will continue until all engines with incorrect catalysts, fuel injectors or fuel map settlings have been addressed or until Dec. 31, whichever is earlier, according to EPA.
In addition to the recall, Caterpillar will mitigate excess emissions through permanent retirement of banked emissions credits, according to the settlement. Within 30 days of entry of the consent decree, Caterpillar agreed to retire credits equivalent to the lifetime excess emissions from the 925 engines that did not receive the correct ATD or that were programmed with incorrect fuel injector or fuel map settings. The credits will come from Caterpillar’s highway averaging, banking and trading account, as well as purchase of credits on the open market through a licensed broker.
Bridget Young, a media relations representative from Cat’s corporate affairs department, says Caterpillar cooperated fully with EPA, the California Air Resources Board and Department of Justice. Young says Caterpillar denies any wrongdoing but did agree that the decree represents a good-faith effort between the parties to resolve their differences and avoid potentially lengthy litigation. “Caterpillar is committed to following the terms of the decree,” she says.
* Zonar announced a strategic agreement with Daimler Trucks North America to provide Virtual Technician as standard equipment on model year 2012 Freightliner vehicles equipped with Detroit Diesel engines.
* Mitchell 1 updated its Tractor-Trailer.net, Medium-Duty.net and Repair-Connect.net online portals to now include all information necessary to service Cummins ISB, ISC, ISL, ISX 11.9 and ISX 15 engines, as well as Detroit Diesel DD13, DD15 and DD16 engines and 2010 Volvo, Mack and MaxxForce engines.
* The warranties of four Dunlop brand commercial truck tire casings were extended from four to six years. The casings include the SP193 FM, SP384 FM, SP456 FM and SP464 in sizes 11R22.5, 11R24.5, 285/75R24.5 and 295/75R22.5.
* SAF-Holland strengthened its business in the Middle East as well as North and Central Africa through the founding of a Dubai subsidiary.
Bill seeks fair permitting of trucks up to 100,000 pounds
Pending legislation would address government regulations permitting six-axle trucks weighing up to 100,000 pounds to travel on some states’ interstate highways and not others. “When it comes to trucks on our interstates, the Department of Transportation has created an inequitable system where some states, including Maine, must seek individual exemptions from year to year, while 27 states benefit from permanent exemptions,” says U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who introduced the Commercial Truck Safety Act.
Presently, trucks weighing more than 80,000 pounds in the remaining 23 states must either unload cargo or travel to their destination on winding secondary roads through numerous small towns and communities. During a recent pilot program allowing six-axle trucks up to 100,000 pounds on Maine’s interstates, there were 14 fewer crashes compared to the previous year and no fatalities involving six-axle trucks.
The bill would end the need for the states to seek individual weight limit exemptions from Congress by granting them the authority to petition the U.S. Secretary of Transportation for a permanent waiver. The legislation would authorize the secretary to institute a three-year pilot program waiving the weight limit and requiring the creation of a safety committee composed of engineers, safety advocates and highway users to help determine whether the exemption should become permanent.
“This inequity is not only a matter of safety in our communities, but critical to the vitality of commerce, jobs and industry throughout our state,” says Snowe, a senior member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which has jurisdiction over truck safety issues.
“As I have expressed to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, as well as past transportation secretaries, the time has come for Congress to go back to the drawing board and ensure all states benefit from an equitable system that supports efficient intrastate and interstate commerce and enhances road safety,” Snowe says.
Southwestern grocer goes green with Ryder CNG trucks
Ryder System will lease 25 compressed natural gas vehicles to Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, a grocery retailer operating 176 stores in California, Arizona and Nevada. The CNG vehicles are the first of their kind in the Fresh & Easy fleet and were made available through Ryder’s agreement with the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) in Southern California.
The first 15 CNG vehicles were delivered to Fresh & Easy in July, and the balance will be delivered in October. “We are committed to reducing our impact on the environment, and incorporating natural gas vehicles into our fleet is a natural step to help us reduce emissions even further,” says Tim Mason, Fresh & Easy chief executive officer.
The $38.7 million Ryder/SANBAG project is part of a public/private partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy, the California Energy Commission, the Southern California Association of Governments Clean Cities Coalition and Ryder. The project includes 202 NG vehicles, upgrades to three maintenance facilities to service NG vehicles and the construction of two fueling stations.
“Offering a natural gas vehicle solution to our logistics customers is an innovative and efficient option to execute their supply chain movements,” says John Sonia, Ryder’s senior vice president of operations for Dedicated Contract Carriage solutions. “It enables them to not only lower transportation costs and increase efficiencies, but also has clear and measurable benefits for reduced emissions.”