As part of a consent decree signed by engine manufacturers in 1998, the EPA moved up a deadline for stricter heavy-duty diesel emissions restrictions from 2004 to October of this year.
“Our primary concern isn’t [reports of increased] fuel costs as much as vehicle downtime,” Schneider told a meeting of industry suppliers sponsored by the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Assoc. Unsuccessful efforts to acquire engines that meet the new requirements for fleet testing have raised concerns that “we’ll be dealing with things that haven’t been engineered properly,” he said.
“The wisest thing would be for EPA to back off [on the new emissions levels] until we have reliably tested engines,” he said. If EPA does not extend the October deadline, “we could extend the life of our [current] vehicles by two or three years,” Schneider said.
The company, which is the country’s largest truckload carrier, also has commitments from truck manufacturers to pre-buy trucks before the new regulations take effect or “we could even buy used equipment if we have to,” Schneider said.