February 19, 2014 9:00 AM, EST
Industry Reacts Quickly to Obama’s Truck Emissions Proposal

Reaction to President Obama’s call for tighter carbon dioxide emissions rules for trucks poured in quickly with the first wave of comment generally offering approval, although there were also calls for caution, including from American Trucking Associations.

“We stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the president and his administration in 2011 when the historic first fuel efficiency standards were set for heavy-duty vehicles,” ATA President Bill Graves said. “As we begin this new round of standards, ATA hopes the administration will set forth a path that is both based on the best science and research available and economically achievable.”

“Trucking is a very diverse industry,” said ATA Chairman Philip Byrd Sr., president of Bulldog Hiway Express in Charleston, S.C., in the same Feb. 18 statement. “Whatever standards the administration sets should reflect that diversity, and whatever tests are devised should accurately reflect what drivers face on the roads every day.”

Truck and engine makers revised their products to meet the first round of standards that went into effect Jan. 1. They also have plans to do more work for the January 2017 round.

Daimler Trucks North America, Navistar International Corp., Peterbilt Motors Co. and Cummins Inc. were among the first manufacturers to say they look forward to cooperating with writing a proposal that is scheduled to be presented in March 2015 and made final in March 2016.

The effective date of the latest round might not be until January 2020, but that will be in the proposed rule.

The chairman of American Truck Dealers also offered a caution. Eric Jorgensen, president of JX Enterprises in Hartland, Wis., said trucks with advanced new technology tend to cost more than the previous generation of technology — and that extra margin of costs is subject to taxation.

“Not only will the upfront technological costs be significant — the 12% federal excise tax and traditional finance requirements on down-payment, typically 20% or more of the truck sales price, including FET, in the form of cash, trade equity or combined — will be a significant burden for fleets and owner-operators,” Jorgensen said.