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Industry stakeholders sound off on final Phase 2 emissions standards

trafficIndustry stakeholders wasted little time in reacting to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) new emissions and fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles Tuesday.

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) endorsed the mandate, which calls for a phased-in reduction of up to 25 percent in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from tractors and vocational vehicles – of which up to a five percent improvement must come from the engine.

DTNA said it was pleased that the EPA and NHTSA chose a non-disruptive implementation of the standard, which will allow the industry to phase-in technical changes over a decade and mitigates cost of acquisition pressures on customers.

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“DTNA supports regulations which reduce GHG emissions as well as diesel consumption,” says Martin Daum, DTNA president and CEO. “As we have stated through the collaborative debate on the Phase Two rule, the final rule needed to provide clear, long-term targets for the entire vehicle, not just the engine. It also needed to provide enough time and flexibility for the OEMs and customers to decide themselves how to achieve the reductions in a way that is economically feasible.”

Daum says accomplishing up to 25 percent in reductions over the next 10 years will require the focused efforts from all of the company’s engineers.

“We are confident that we are up to the challenge, and know that we can have a significant impact on reducing GHG emissions and fuel consumption,” says Sean Waters, DTNA director of compliance and regulatory affairs.

Srikanth Padmanabhan, president of Cummins’ engine business, also expressed his company’s readiness to provide fuel savings and environmental benefits while complying with the mandate.

“With nearly 100 years of engine expertise, we are well-positioned to develop products that comply with this new rule and meet our customers’ needs,” he says. “We are pleased that the rule builds on the Phase 1 regulatory framework that recognizes the diversity and complexity of the commercial vehicle sector, and we look forward to continued collaboration with the agencies and our customers to ensure a successful implementation.”

Rich Freeland, Cummins president and COO, says the company is ready to tackle complex climate and energy challenges, and is confident they have the engine technologies necessary “to meet or exceed improvements required by the Phase 2 engine standards.”

Siddiq Khan, senior researcher for American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), also lauded the rule’s passing, adding Phase 2 standards will deliver major savings at the pump to truck owners and will reduce the cost of freight movement nationwide.

“With these fuel savings, most truckers will recover the incremental cost of the more efficient trucks in less than two years,” he adds. “The standards also provide long-term certainty for manufacturers investing in clean engine and vehicle technologies. The Phase 2 program will strengthen the market for truck efficiency technologies, helping to ensure that the United States remains a world leader in this area.”

The American Trucking Association (ATA) said it was “cautiously optimistic” that the second round of the Obama administration’s GHG and fuel economy standards for commercial trucks would achieve the targets set out by the administration.

“While efficiency milestones for vehicles, engines and trailers have all been slightly increased over the agencies’ initial proposal, we are encouraged that they addressed several important issues in the final rule including undertaking annual rule assessments, not accelerating compliance timelines from those originally proposed and refining emissions modeling based on industry data,” says ATA Vice President and Energy and Environmental Counsel Glen Kedzie. “However, while the potential for real cost savings and environmental benefits under this rule are there – fleets will ultimately determine the success or failure of this rule based on their comfort level purchasing these new technologies.”

Truck Rental and Leasing Association (TRALA) president and CEO Jake Jacoby says his organization remains concerned about stricter standards being placed on truck manufacturers, but is pleased that the EPA and NHTSA granted the agency’s request to have the final implementation year of Phase 2 remain in 2027 versus 2024, which had been considered.

“TRALA also is pleased that there TRALA also is pleased that there appears to be harmonization of standards and some additional flexibility for the OEMs to reach these targets.”

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Jason Cannon is the Equipment Editor for Commercial Carrier Journal and Overdrive, and is a Class A CDL holder. Reach him at jasoncannon@randallreilly.com.