ATA petitions White House for delay in new diesel engine standards
Jun 28, 2002 12:00 PM
A petition from 345 motor carriers has been presented to the White House for a delay in implementation of new diesel engine emissions standards due to go into effect on October 1, 2002, according to information from the American Trucking Associations (ATA). In a letter to President George Bush, the carriers, all members of the ATA, said the type of new engines required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) remain untested, unproven, and pose a serious threat to the industry's ability to continue to move America's freight efficiently and to keep the economy going.
"ATA wants the EPA, the Congress, and the White House to focus on a solution that helps protect the environment and ensures that the next generation of truck engines can deliver the freight as well as our current models," said William Canary, ATA president and chief executive officer. "This is the right approach for all Americans."
Normally, engine manufacturers provide fleet owners with several prototype engines for extensive field-testing, each involving a year of more of operation over hundreds of thousands of miles. However, say the motor carriers, with less than four months before the October deadline, there is no time left for them to thoroughly test the new engines. The limited testing that has occurred to date has prompted serious questions about the performance, reliability, and maintenance of the new engines.
According to the ATA information, so far, the few 2002 test engines available have demonstrated a higher breakdown rate, decreased fuel economy, much higher operating temperatures, a doubling of normal engine oil consumption, and have also produced unexpected wear and tear on other under-the-hood components.
In an earlier petition to the EPA asking for a delay in the rule, ATA said the cost of the new engines poses yet another major problem for the trucking industry. Though the EPA originally estimated a cost increase of $803 per engine, ATA says new studies now indicate the new engines will each cost nearly $9,000 more than previous models, a tenfold increase. The ATA placed the actual life cycle costs of the new engines between $11,057 and $15,892 per engine, dramatically higher that the $907 life cycle cost EPA used to support its rule.
Stressing the potential size of the problem, the motor carriers reminded the White House that 87 percent of all money spent to move freight in the country is spent on the trucking industry, that the industry moves 68 percent of all the freight in the United States, and that 75 percent of US communities depend exclusively on trucks to deliver all of their fuel, clothing, medicine, and other consumer goods.