According to an online Peterbilt 2002 Engine Survey, the majority of respondents believe new engines meeting '02 emissions requirements will have better fuel economy and be more reliable than current heavy-duty diesels.
Since announcing the online survey at the Mid-America Trucking Show, the OEM has received more than 10,000 responses. Peterbilt said respondents range from owner-operators and fleet owners to Peterbilt enthusiasts and those who simply want a complimentary key chain for filling out the survey.
"Given this wide range of survey takers, these results are by no means scientific," Peterbilt said. "Rather, it's an informal look at how visitors to our website view an important industry issue."
Speculation in the industry is that significant number of fleets will pre-buy trucks before October to avoid engines that meet the '02 emissions requirement. However, 58% of those surveyed by Peterbilt said the implementation of the new rules would have no effect on the timing of their purchases.
As Fleet Owner reported in its April 2002 issue, the new technology engine makers are expected to deploy to get down to the requisite EPA emission limits will add $3,000 to $5,000 to the cost of a new vehicle.
Only 7% of those responding to the survey consider $2,500 or more to be the maximum acceptable price increase. Of the 10,082 who took the survey, 4,046 think there should be no price increase. Another 49% of those surveyed said they believe that the purchase price of trucks with the new engines will be lower than existing new trucks.
Truck buyers interviewed by Fleet Owner said reliability of these new engines is an open question. But half of the Peterbilt survey takers think the engines will be more reliable and have fewer service requirements.
Engine makers concede fuel efficiency will likely be compromised and maintenance schedules may have to be modified, the April 2002 article noted. But the majority of the Peterbilt survey takers, 64%, said they think fuel economy will improve, and 12% believe it will not be affected.