Letters: Cash for Truckers, CARB’s Letter, Mexican Border Flap, More Reregulation

These Letters to the Editor appear in the Aug. 31 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

Cash for Truckers

While the highly popular Cash for Clunkers program boosted the sales of new autos, both foreign and domestic, it is unknown if it will have any noticeable effect on the economy, jobs, energy or the environment. In contrast, a “Cash for Truckers” program can have a positive effect on the economy, jobs, energy and the environment and at the same time maybe even fund a Cash for Clunkers program. This can be a win, win, win, win and win. Here’s how:

The fuel savings from a $3 billion investment in the Cash for Clunkers program is optimistically estimated at 30 million gallons a year, generating up to $90 million in savings per year. While these savings may appear impressive, they are negligible when compared to an investment in “Cash for Truckers.”

A $3 billion “Cash for Truckers” program would save 1.5 billion gallons of fuel each year, generating cash savings of $4.5 billion. The return on investment is 5,000% greater than Cash for Clunkers.

Everyone wins by sharing the savings, the majority of which stays with the truckers to reduce costs, stimulate the economy, save jobs, clean up the environment and reinvest in “Cash for Truckers.” The remaining savings would be used to repay the taxpayers, fund energy-saving research and development and maybe even pay for Cash for Clunkers.

Richard Wood


SOLUS — Solutions and Technologies LLC

Virginia Beach, Va.

CARB’s Letter

Instead of “SCR Engines May Emit Toxins, CARB Staffer’s Letter Warns,” your Aug. 10, p. 1 headline should have been “CARB Calls Navistar’s Use of Letter a ‘Blatant Misrepresentation.’ ” By placing California Air Resource Board’s description of Navistar’s action right up front, rather than burying it in the very last line, you would have spared your readers having to wade through several paragraphs of very misleading information.

The referenced CARB letter provided input on future theoretical testing of selective catalytic reduction technologies for diesel engines in off-highway, marine and farm equipment, older on-road trucks and stationary equipment — none of which have anything to do with the new SCR engines alluded to in this article.

There was no mention in the article that the studies cited concerned emissions already neutralized by catalysts standard on all known diesel engine-SCR installations.

Nor did you note that the Environmental Protection Agency has regulated particulate matter and NOx emissions for 2010 to near-zero levels achievable only with SCR.

Your readers also might be interested to know that even though Navistar is blasting SCR and suing EPA here in America, they are very publically promoting SCR at their International MWM operation in Brazil. (Click here for Navistar link.) Is SCR safer in Brazil than here?

David McKenna

Director, Powertrain Sales and Marketing

Mack Trucks Inc.

Mexican Border Flap

In 2007, the Bush administration was finally able to implement a pilot program under which Mexican trucks could cross the border, provided safety standards were met. According to the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. trucks are now more likely than Mexican trucks to be taken off U.S. highways for safety violations.

But Congress recently killed the pilot program at the urging of the Teamsters union and its supporters, and for the Obama administration, the issue set its commitment to free trade principles against its commitment to organized labor.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs chose his words very carefully: “Congress has opposed the project in the past because of concerns about the process that led to the program’s establishment and its operation,” he said. “The administration recognizes these concerns.”

Funny — now Obama vows to resolve the dispute he and his administration created and implemented.

Lawrence Hartung

Director of Safety

deBoer Transportation Inc.

Blenker, Wis.

More Reregulation

How sad that our country has deteriorated so much that we actually have people who want to re-regulate the transportation industry — or any industry for that matter — because the free market doesn’t work the way it should. The equally frightening comment here is that anyone who thinks the market is broken is right. The free market doesn’t work as it should.

Our nation, now 233 years old, is the greatest in the world. We are hated by parts of the world in large part because we live such great lives in the United States. Whatever problems we have pale when compared with any other country in the world. We have the freedom to write letters such as this or to pursue our dreams in the manner we want. To abandon the principles that made us a great nation is incomprehensible and saddening.

Every new government intervention robs a little more of the freedom we so enjoy. While reregulating the trucking industry may make those existing business owners happy, what does it do to the dreams of those who aspire to own their own companies? It further destroys the free market that made us great.

That could be said for every regulated industry. Look at the telephone, pharmaceutical, oil, airline and banking industries. Competition lowered prices, fueled innovation and allowed many to prosper as new companies entered these industries.

We must face facts: The free market is broken.

We broke up Standard Oil but allowed its re-creation with Exxon Mobil and other mergers. We broke up AT&T and allowed it to re-create itself as Verizon and AT&T. We have only a few pharmaceutical companies, because we allowed Pfizer and others to buy the competition.

I was involved in a business transaction recently that failed because they allowed the second- and third-largest waste management companies to merge. The consequences are far-reaching and long-term. Prices are rising, employment is dropping, service is declining and innovation is slowing because of reduced competition.

The banking industry has fallen apart largely because of the consolidation of banks. There never has been a better slogan to support the free-market ideology than those immortal words, “too big to fail.”

We do not need new laws but merely to enforce the antitrust laws we already have: Break up big oil and make little oil. Break up the phone companies, the pharmaceutical companies, banks, and health and casualty insurance companies that expanded by mergers that never should have been approved.

Stop the American Medical Association from limiting the number of doctors allowed in medical schools, so we can increase the number of doctors. Many qualified individuals are turned down each year.

Increased competition will increase employment, reduce costs and bring back innovation. Big business is no better than big government. It still leaves decisions in too few hands.

We do need government help, but we need it to enforce our antitrust laws, not to regulate prices and alter the marketplace artificially.

The person willing to campaign on the above platform will garner incredible support. Bring competition back and stop the central planning that is the inevitable result of big government or big business. Get ready for the next 100 years. As the song says and our new president quoted, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Marc Stewart

Former Owner

Shipper’s Transport Co.

Nashville, Tenn.