The implementation of 2007 diesel emission regulations got lots of attention at the American Trucking Assns. (ATA) management conference in Boston last month.
“The transportation industry faces an abundance of challenges — and lubrication manufacturers are addressing many of them,” said Jim McGeehan, global manager of diesel engine oil technology for Chevron Products Co.
“Ultra-low-sulfur fuel, the 2007 engines and diesel particulate filters are all interrelated with the upcoming PC-10 engine oil specification,” he added. “These technologies place new demands on lubricants and coolants. As a result, we are working closely with OEMs, component manufacturers and fuel suppliers to deliver the performance customers have come to expect from our products.”
“While these new emission standards will not go into effect until January 2007, the official motor oil licensing date will become effective in November of 2006,” said Dan Arcy, technical product marketing manager for Shell Lubricants.
Arcy noted that PC-10 oils also need to work well with the ULSD-which will have a sulfur content of 15 ppm, down significantly from today's 500-ppm level — that's expected to hit the market mid-year 2006. “In addition to all that, an oil's performance characteristics cannot be detrimental to after-treatment devices such as a diesel particulate filters or oxidation catalysts,” he emphasized.
The cost of these changes, plus the headaches of maintaining new technology, worries many carriers in the industry, said Gov. Bill Graves, ATA's president & CEO.
However, clean air comes at a price. He noted that all the components needed to lower truck emissions — the engine, engine oil, and aftertreatment system — will increase the purchase and maintenance costs for commercial trucks.
“This additional financial burden falls upon an industry where nearly 96% of companies are designated as small businesses,” Graves said.
“Equally important, we must recognize that EPA's projected environmental benefits materialize only if trucking companies can afford to purchase the cleaner but more expensive trucks equipped with the clean diesel technology,” he continued. “Customers always have the option of holding on to older trucks, rebuilding older engines, or simply buying more [pre-'07] trucks today. If that happens, EPA would be hard pressed to realize the clean air benefits they are counting on.”