Photo: aneese/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Truck Blue Sky Aneese

EPA wants public input on new emissions rules

Jan. 9, 2020
Andrew Wheeler, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR), calling for public participation in drafting the Cleaner Trucks Initiative, first proposed in November 2018.

Standing in front of officials representing several trucking industry organizations and stakeholders, Andrew Wheeler, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR), calling for public participation in drafting the Cleaner Trucks Initiative, first introduced in November 2018.

The CTI will update emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks to reign in nitrogen oxide (NOx) and other pollutants.

“Through this initiative, we will modernize heavy-duty truck engines, improving their efficiency and reducing their emissions, which will lead to a healthier environment,” Wheeler said to officials from the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association, American Trucking Association, Diesel Technology Forum and Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association at the Fauquier Livestock Exchange in Marshall, Va.

The CTI is intended to reduce emissions while also presenting opportunities for engine manufacturers to reduce costs by streamlining and improving certification procedures.

Controlling emissions under low-load operation in cities, such as idling or while in stop-and-go traffic, is a chief target for improvement. A 2016 petition to the EPA from 20 state and local air quality agencies gave the federal agency reason to undertake new heavy-duty NOx rules. Wheeler began his role as administrator in 2018.

“The trucking industry takes clean air seriously and has made significant strides in improving the nation’s air quality over the last 35 years,” said Bill Sullivan, American Trucking Associations' executive vice president of advocacy. “Since 1985, newly-manufactured trucks have reduced NOx emissions by over 98% but our work is not yet done.

Wheeler added that the push to make trucks less disruptive to the environment will spur “innovative new technologies, ensuring heavy-duty trucks are clean and remain a competitive method of transportation.”

The EPA webpage on the CTI hints at what some of these technologies may be:

  • Implementing cylinder deactivation and late intake valve closing to reduce airflow and increase exhaust temperatures in diesel engines
  • Using an accelerated catalyst aging procedure to more accurately predict emissions system durability
  • Tests to asses NOx sensor accuracy, repeatability, noise, interference and response time

“Serious problems with earlier rulemakings have left small-business truckers justifiably wary of new emissions reduction proposals,” said OOIDA President Todd Spencer. “However, over the last year, representatives of the EPA have gone to great lengths to fully understand how new policies may affect our members, which wasn’t standard practice under previous administrations.”

OOIDA believes the agency’s desire to avoid the mistakes of the past is genuine,” Spencer continued. “We’re hopeful our ongoing conversations with EPA and the feedback our members will soon provide during the ANPRM comment period will lead to the development of an acceptable new standard.”

The EPA has began more strictly regulating the industry in 2001, forcing trucks manufactured after Jan. 1, 2010 to reduce PM emissions to 0.01 per brake horsepower hour (g/bhp-hr) and NOx emissions to 0.20 g/bhp-hr. It was the impetus for diesel engines now relying on a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) units. These devices inject diesel exhaust fluid into the diesel engine exhaust stream, breaking down NOx into nitrogen, oxygen, water and a small amount of CO2.

The EPA noted that from 2007 to 2017, NOx emissions — which can cause respiratory diseases such as asthma — dropped by 40% in the U.S. Medium and heavy trucking combined account for 7% of America’s total emissions output.

To submit input, visit and use Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2019-0055.

About the Author

John Hitch | Editor

John Hitch, based out of Cleveland, Ohio, is the editor of Fleet Maintenance, a B2B magazine that addresses the service needs for all commercial vehicle makes and models (Classes 1-8), ranging from shop management strategies to the latest tools to enhance uptime.

He previously wrote about equipment and fleet operations and management for FleetOwner, and prior to that, manufacturing and advanced technology for IndustryWeek and New Equipment Digest. He is an award-winning journalist and former sonar technician aboard a nuclear-powered submarine.

For tips, questions or comments, email [email protected].

Sponsored Recommendations

Reducing CSA Violations & Increasing Safety With Advanced Trailer Telematics

Keep the roads safer with advanced trailer telematics. In this whitepaper, see how you can gain insights that lead to increased safety and reduced roadside incidents—keeping drivers...

80% Fewer Towable Accidents - 10 Key Strategies

After installing grille guards on all of their Class 8 trucks, a major Midwest fleet reported they had reduced their number of towable accidents by 80% post installation – including...

Proactive Fleet Safety: A Guide to Improved Efficiency and Profitability

Each year, carriers lose around 32.6 billion vehicle hours as a result of weather-related congestion. Discover how to shift from reactive to proactive, improve efficiency, and...

Tackling the Tech Shortage: Lessons in Recruiting Talent and Reducing Turnover

Discover innovative strategies for recruiting and retaining tech talent in the trucking industry during this informative webinar, where experts will share insights on competitive...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!