We are at a pivotal moment in our nation’s quest for cleaner air and healthier communities. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed important new legislation to further reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) tailpipe emissions from commercial vehicles. The Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA) would like to act as a constructive partner in this important task.
It’s about a lot. The trucks affected by this rulemaking are responsible for hauling 72 percent of the goods consumed in the United States — and they also include garbage and recycling trucks, school and city buses, cement trucks, electric utility vehicles, and delivery trucks for groceries and packages that our communities need every day serve day.
EMA members recognize the significant economic and social impacts of their products and have a long and successful history of working with the EPA to achieve national environmental regulations. Claims that our industry is impeding progress towards clean air targets are simply not true.
In fact, we are at the forefront of urging the EPA and Department of Transportation to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve the fuel efficiency of heavy-duty engines and commercial vehicles. Recently, we stood up and defended the EPA’s GHG Phase 2 rules when the previous administration tried to weaken emissions standards. We have also campaigned for further nationwide reductions in NOx emissions for years.
These and other measures have led to an NO reduction of more than 98 percentx and particulate matter (PM) emissions from commercial vehicles. That’s an incredible achievement – especially while improving fuel efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
We are not finished yet.
We fully support the EPA’s efforts to significantly reduce the remaining 1-2 percent NOx -Reduce emissions in a practical and cost-effective way. We also want to keep an eye on the price: the elimination everything NOxParticulate matter and GHG tailpipe emissions.
EMA members invest billions of dollars in zero-emission technologies, and we are committed to a zero-emission future for the commercial vehicle industry.
Today, EMA members produce such well-known heavy-duty brands as Freightliner, International, Kenworth, Mack, Peterbilt and Volvo already produce zero-emission trucks. While this technology is still in its infancy, we are in the process of validating its performance in a growing number of applications to ensure our customers’ product needs can be met.
However, more investment must be made in research and development to develop the full range of vehicles needed to support our country’s diverse trucking needs and, crucially, the nation must invest in building the infrastructure that will is required for the operation of zero-emission vehicles. The EPA rule must not result in much-needed resources being diverted from further zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) development.
Perhaps most importantly, the ultimate success of the EPA rule will be determined by one thing: fleet revenue.
EPA rules only apply to new engine and vehicle sales. Almost all (98 percent) of fleet owners in the US are small businesses operating fleets of 20 or fewer commercial vehicles. Nine out of ten of these fleets (91 percent) operate 6 trucks or fewer. Our customers are discerning buyers who invest capital in new trucks only when these purchases pay off. In other words, they’re on tight margins, and they don’t necessarily have to be to need to buy new trucks. You can keep your old ones for decades.
Only about 50 percent of the medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks in use today are vehicles with modern, 98 percent effective emission control technologies. The other 50 percent of trucks on the road can emit up to 30 times more NOx and 60 times more particulate emissions than modern engines. If one of these older trucks stays on the road for just another year, it will release more harmful NOx than a modern truck produces over that time 30 years.
Replacing older truck engines with newer trucks significantly reduces harmful emissions and is essential to achieving shared goals for cleaner air and healthier communities. Once the rule is final, only new trucks that meet the new standard will be available for purchase. If fleets don’t have confidence in the performance, reliability and cost of ownership of the new trucks, they will simply keep their old trucks longer. This will prevent the cleanest technologies from taking to the streets and delivering the desired environmental benefits, particularly in communities that have historically suffered from the highest levels of air pollution.
We are committed to working with the EPA and other stakeholders to ensure adoption of a final rule that is reasonably strict and effective, while protecting hundreds of thousands of well-paying truck industry jobs and ensuring manufacturers continue to able to produce full range of durable, reliable and affordable products that our customers demand. A poorly designed final rule will result in market disruption, unintended environmental declines, and significant adverse economic and job impacts.
The EPA can and should establish a one-step, workable final rule that not only achieves clean air goals, but also gives manufacturers, fleet owners and businesses across the country the confidence they need to get on with their essential work. As EPA works to complete rulemaking, EMA and its members stand ready to be a collaborative partner. We are committed to cleaner air and healthier communities in every state in the nation and will do everything we can to ensure the final NOx rule achieved its goals for the country and every citizen.
Jed Mandel is President of the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association.