'07: The cost of clean

A clearer picture of the costs associated with running vehicles that meet EPA's more stringent 2007 emission standards is finally beginning to emerge. At the recent TMC meeting, presentations and conversations with truck manufacturers, engine makers, and other component suppliers shed light on a variety of cost areas. Vehicles International Truck & Engine Corp. said late last year that it expects

A clearer picture of the costs associated with running vehicles that meet EPA's more stringent 2007 emission standards is finally beginning to emerge. At the recent TMC meeting, presentations and conversations with truck manufacturers, engine makers, and other component suppliers shed light on a variety of cost areas.

Vehicles

International Truck & Engine Corp. said late last year that it expects sticker prices for '07-compliant medium-duty trucks and school buses to increase between $5,000 and $6,000, while Class 8 and vocational trucks could climb $7,000 to $10,000 per unit.

Howard Lukens, general manager-southern region for Detroit Diesel Corp., earlier this year said changes related to '07 emissions compliance could increase the average Class 8 vehicle's price by $6,638, along with additional yearly maintenance costs of $367.

Volvo Trucks North America said prices for its 2007 model tractors and vocational trucks would increase $7,500.

John Walsh, spokesman for Mack Trucks, said sticker prices for Mack's highway products are going to increase by $7,000.

Engine oil

A completely reformulated oil (API CJ-4) has been developed for '07-compliant engines to help protect the DPF portion of the aftertreatment system. However, according to Reginald Dias, director of commercial products for ConocoPhillips, pricing for CJ-4 still isn't set.

“The chemistry for CJ-4 is significantly different than any of the oils preceding it,” he said. “We're still trying to pin down the economics around the oil, [including] all the testing that must be done. Caterpillar's C-13 test takes 500 hours and costs more than $100,000, and it's likely we'll need more than one test to pass it,” Dias explained. “That's partly why our costs haven't been confirmed and why we haven't indicated pricing.”

Dan Arcy, technical marketing manager for Shell Lubricants, stressed that while CJ-4 oil will certainly be more costly than today's CI-4 and CI-4 Plus blends, the cost is not going to double.

ULSD

Ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD), which contains only 15 ppm sulfur, is expected to cost 5 to 13¢ per gallon more than current fuel. Eighty percent of all on-road diesel fuel sold in retail outlets must be ULSD starting Oct. 15, 2006.

To meet that deadline, refineries must start making ULSD around June 1 and begin transporting it to fuel distribution centers about Aug. 1.

Dias said ULSD would likely be produced with a sulfur content of 7 to 8 ppm since it's expected to absorb extra sulfur from pipelines and tanks during the distribution process.

DPFs

Some big numbers await fleets in terms of the price of the machines needed to clean diesel particulate filters, as well as the service fee involved. Chuck Blake, applications engineer for DDC, said that right now exchanging a dirty DPF — one loaded with ash — for a clean one could cost in the neighborhood of $300 to $500.

The machines used for cleaning DPFs are also expensive: $8,000 to $15,000 for those using compressed air and $50,000 for liquid cleaning systems.

Bill Stahl, director of OEM sales for Cummins, estimates the cost of compressed-air type DPF cleaning devices at about $8,000. However, he thinks most fleets will not invest in the DPF cleaning technology; rather, they'll send the filters to a dealership or distributor for cleaning.

“We expect most fleets won't need to clean out these filters until somewhere between 200,000 and 400,000 miles,” he pointed out. “Depending on their application, some won't need to clean the filter at all over the time period they own that truck.”

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