Gov. Bill Graves, president & CEO of the American Trucking Associations (ATA), today reaffirmed the trucking industry’s commitment to a smooth transition toward the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) diesel engine emissions rule.
In a prepared statement, the former Governor of Kansas planned to deliver today to the Japan International Transport Institute Seminar on Transportation and the Environment, he reassured environmental groups of ATA’s commitment to the EPA rule. But he also underscored potential problems 2007-compliant engines could bring to trucking.
“We remain concerned about the reliability of the engines and a potential loss of fuel economy, but these questions do not rise to the level of needing a delay in the rule,” Graves said.
ATA continues to seek incentives to ease the transition to the new engines and to avoid the pre-buy phenomena seen in 2002. “The cost of the new engines will be exponentially higher than today’s engines,” Gov. Graves said. “We don’t want to see a repeat of the disruptions we witnessed in 2002.”
Graves expressed his approval of the responsiveness of the Bush Administration toward the concerns of the trucking industry in going forward with the rule. “2007 appears to be a different scenario completely,” he said. “Engine manufacturers remain on schedule to have test engines in the hands of motor carriers well in advance of total implementation…EPA has signaled their willingness to look at [incentives] as one possible option. We’re thankful for this and look forward to working with them to see what we can do together to get these new engine technologies out on the road.”
He also reaffirmed the industry’s optimism as well as possible pitfalls for the industry going toward ’05. “The economy is expanding and our membership companies are experiencing a level of growth they haven’t seen in many years,” Graves said. “Freight volumes continue to rise and the industry is benefiting from an overall sense of economic well-being.”
Graves said record-setting diesel prices and high equipment costs are factors dogging trucking. Graves cited EPA’s SmartWay Transport Partnership, a voluntary program that provides positive feedback to carriers that draft and implement environmentally sound improvements, as a successful example of a government-industry endeavor.
“ATA and EPA developed a software tool that helps partners in the SmartWay program make better informed business decisions about which fuel saving and technology options best suit their operations, how to most effectively achieve their environmental goals, and ultimately, how to increase their financial bottom lines,” Graves said.