Trucking industry reactions to GHG Phase II vary

Reaction has been swift and varied to the Obama administration’s proposed second round of truck fuel efficiency standards: An environmental group is calling it “historic,” while an association of truck dealers isn’t so sure.

And many industry groups are taking a wait-and-see approach, as experts sort through the 1,300 page proposal.

Here’s a sampling of the reaction so far:

“Affordable transportation is the bedrock of the American economy, and adding—by the administration's own estimate –an average of just under $12,000 to the cost of a new truck through mandates based on potentially untested technologies is a great risk to a still-fragile economy,” said the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and American Truck Dealers (ATD) in a statement. “Recent history has shown that mandates with underestimated compliance costs result in substantially higher prices for commercial vehicles, and force fleet owners and operators to seek out less-expensive and less fuel-efficient alternatives in the marketplace. The costs could even drive small fleets and owner-operators out of business, costing jobs and only further impeding economic growth. While supportive of affordable fuel-economy improvements, ATD is closely reviewing the proposal and the many potential impacts it will have on truck dealerships and their customers.”

“The proposed Clean Truck standards will move us miles down the road toward a cleaner, safer future,” said Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund. “The standards will sharply reduce climate pollution from the transportation sector and will reduce America’s reliance on imported oil. This week, Pope Francis called on all of us to live up to our moral obligation to help turn back the climate threat. Today’s proposal is the latest step this Administration has taken toward meeting that obligation.”

“Cummins supports the proposed Phase II rule and believes it will help our industry grow in a more sustainable way, which is a win for our customers and win for the environment,” said Tom Linebarger, Chairman and CEO, Cummins Inc. “The rule, which was developed through a collaborative effort with agencies and industry partners, builds on the emissions reductions and fuel efficiency gains that the Phase I standards helped make possible. We look forward to the process of finalizing these new standards. Cummins is committed to continuing to use our technological leadership to develop products that our customers rely on, while also reducing our environmental footprint.”

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) and its subsidiaries have focused for decades on improving freight efficiency in order to lower customers’ total operating costs.  As the market leader in fuel efficiency, and the first to certify all of our products to Phase 1 GHG standards, DTNA shares EPA and NHTSA goals to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gases,” DTNA said. “We believe that the rule should reflect realistic vehicle production and operating conditions, and consider the cost-efficient, fuel-saving technologies in fleet operations in order to successfully meet our shared goals.  We have provided the EPA and NHTSA with information about the fuel-saving potential of many technologies, as well as their relative cost and affordability for our customers. We are just beginning to review the details of the NPRM, and will continue to work with EPA and NHTSA on developing a final rule consistent with our goals of providing emissions and fuel economy benefits that reduce the Real Cost of Ownership for our customers.”

“As the largest semi-trailer manufacturer in North America, we will continue to work with the EPA and NHTSA as they finalize a trailer program intended to improve fuel economy in our industry,” said Richard Giromini, President and CEO of Wabash National. “As a leader in advanced trailer aerodynamic technologies, we want to ensure that the new rule offers multiple options, in an effort to simplify compliance, while maximizing environmental benefits and overall cost savings for the fleets.”

“Environmental care is a core value for the Volvo Group, and we are aligned with the federal government’s goal to reduce GHG emissions from heavy-duty trucks.  While we will need to spend time thoroughly reviewing the details, we appreciate EPA’s and NHTSA’s outreach to the industry,” said Volvo Group North America spokesman John Mies. “In principle, the Volvo Group maintains that a separate engine standard is inconsistent with our interest in minimizing the complete, real world environmental impacts of our products.  A separate engine standard is at odds with the reduction of NOx, due to the natural trade-off between NOx and CO2 emissions from the engine.  It also limits manufacturers’ flexibility to meet the regulated targets for each individual customer in a way that suits their specific needs, and it incentivizes optimization for engine test cell requirements versus real world efficiencies.”

"As a power management company committed to increased fuel efficiency and reduced greenhouse gases, Eaton strongly supports the next phase of standards for medium and heavy duty commercial vehicles," said Alexander M. Cutler, Eaton Chairman and CEO. "These standards provide important incentives to help deploy the next generation of fuel efficient technologies. Eaton stands ready to provide cost-effective advanced drivetrain technologies that make vehicles more efficient while achieving significant operational savings for our customers' commercial vehicle fleets."

“We look forward to continue working with EPA, NHTSA and the Administration on this national Phase II program,” said Michael L. Ducker, President and CEO of FedEx Freight. “We need to ensure national harmonization of standards and compliance requirements in order to maximize environmental benefits and fuel cost savings for fleets so as to decrease U.S. dependency on oil. This would serve as an effective complementary approach with equipment improvements like the use of 33 ft. twin trailers, which can reduce fuel use by millions of gallons per year through up to an 18 percent improvement in operational efficiency. The use of 33 ft. trailers has the added benefit of enhancing safety and reducing emissions due to fewer truck trips needed to transport the same amount of freight.”

“With or without standards, we strive to be one of the most fuel efficient fleets in the country. Clearly, the Phase II rule is intended to further improve the efficiency of how we move goods throughout the United States,” said Doug Stotlar, President and CEO of Con-way Inc. “The devil is in the details, but we will continue to work with our partners to ensure the final rule is strong but still implementable for our industry.”

“Since 2011, MEMA has worked closely with the administration in an open and constructive manner to provide feedback and data in the development of this proposed rulemaking on fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions for heavy trucks,” said Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Assn. (MEMA) President & CEO Steve Handschuh. “Our heavy vehicle supplier member companies will carefully review the proposed rule and we look forward to our continuing productive relationship with the U.S. EPA and the U.S. DOT’s NHTSA. MEMA and its members understand that a consistent national program will foster long-term investment, product reliability, validation and product cost-effectiveness.

“On the home front, efficiency makes us more resilient. Just as important, technologies developed to improve fuel efficiency for the U.S. trucking industry will likely also improve military operational effectiveness and save lives,” said Gen. Ron Keys, USAF (Ret),CNA Corp. Military Advisory Board chairman. “As the world’s greatest innovators, the U.S. must lead global efforts to deploy advanced technologies that lower the demand for oil. To date, fuel economy standards for cars and trucks have proved to be powerful tools that have speeded innovation, decreased our dependence on oil and improved our nation’s overall security. The CNA MAB supports the next phase of rulemaking for medium and heavy-duty trucks as a matter of national security.”

And the American public seems to be support the proposal as well. The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is releasing a new poll that finds a large majority of Americans favor requiring manufacturers to increase the fuel efficiency of heavy-duty trucks (71 percent) while less than one quarter oppose such a requirement (24 percent).

“Our poll found that Americans understand that big truck fuel costs are passed on to them, which means they understand that raising big truck fuel economy standards will save them money,” said Jack Gillis, CFA’s automotive expert. “As the federal government takes another step forward in addressing the nation’s energy challenges, today’s proposal to increase big truck fuel economy will not only further reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but reduce the cost of everyday consumer purchases.”

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