Truckers Seek Delay in Emissions Rule


The American Trucking Association has asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to delay a mandate requiring new diesel engines to pollute less beginning in October.

In a June 19 petition, the association argued that new studies show that equipment needed to meet the standards would cost much more to buy and operate than EPA estimated, and that engines outfitted with them would be so unreliable as to threaten the nations economy. The engines’ reliability will be especially threatened, ATA said, if mechanics fail to use the new CI-4 heavy duty engine oils.

A spokesman said the group hopes to put off the regulation, despite the late hour of the petition.

We think we have a very good, straightforward case, Mike Russell said. The engines do not work and they do not meet the requirements of the trucking industry.

An EPA spokesman said the agency is not yet prepared to comment.

Originally mandated to take effect in the fall of 2004, the new emissions standard would reduce the combined limit on nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons by 40 percent. The regulation was later accelerated to take effect this year. Most engine manufacturers have indicated they would meet the requirement by installing exhaust gas recirculation systems, although Caterpillar has taken a different approach.

The latest category of heavy-duty diesel engine oil – API CI-4, which was adopted in December – was developed to withstand the higher temperatures and higher soot and acid levels generated by EGR systems.

In its petition, the trucking association cited a draft EPA document, written in January, which estimates that the new emissions regulation will raise costs for new diesel engines by nearly $9,000. Thats more than 10 times greater than the $803 that the agency calculated in 1997 as part of a federal requirement to project costs of new regulations.

The association also cited a May study, commissioned by engine manufacturers, which estimates that the emissions mandate will increase life-cycle purchase and operating costs of engines by $11,057-$15,892. EPA pegged the increase at $907.

The enormous disparity between EPAs original cost estimates and the true costs associated with the 2004 rule renders the cost/benefit justification of the rule invalid, the petition states.

The association claimed that engine reliability will suffer for a variety of reasons. It predicted that some mechanics will use earlier engine oils instead of CI-4 products, leading to engine damage. It also said that engines and other components may suffer from the higher temperatures generated by EGR systems.

Moreover, the association complained that industry has not had normal or sufficient amounts of time for field tests to determine the reliability of EGR-equipped engines.

Finally, it said that trucking companies will incur increased costs due to the lower fuel economy and shorter oil and filter change intervals caused by EGR systems.

The association warned that the regulation could be a blow to the U.S. economy since trucks move 68 percent of the nations freight.

A representative from one diesel engine oil supplier said his company neither supports nor opposes the petition.

My general impression is that the [engine oil] industry is prepared, said Matthew Ansari, heavy duty automotive manager for ChevronTexaco. Our company is confident that we can protect EGR engines on the road today. However, our actions are entirely customer driven. If EGR is delayed, operators will still have a better oil for their engines.

Related Topics

Market Topics