Canadian fleets to meet EPA2010 head on?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The trucking industry has a wonderful story to tell about the incredible progress it has made towards reducing its emissions over the past decade. A new report out of the US suggests the EPA07 engines were particularly effective, going well beyond EPA requirements and reducing emissions by much more than required by law.
According to a release by the American Trucking Associations, EPA07 engines produced 98% less carbon monoxide, 10% less NOx, 89% less particulate matter and 95% less non-methane hydrocarbons than required by EPA under its 2007 diesel engine emissions standards. (I haven’t read the entire 158-page report, but if you wish to do so, be my guest).
That’s a pretty remarkable accomplishment, even if it did come at a tremendous cost. With the next go-round just months from away in January 2010, it appears some fleets are viewing the 2010 emissions standards as an opportunity, rather than a costly burden.
In a sluggish economy with weak freight volumes, it would be easy to postpone the purchase of EPA2010-compliant engines. However, fleets at the recent Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC) conference have instead said they plan to proceed with new equipment purchases in 2010 and some are even welcoming the latest round of emissions standards.
“We’re not going to skip 2010, we’ll be out there buying trucks next year,” vowed Serge Viola, national fleet manager with Purolator Courier.
That message was echoed by other environmentally-conscious fleets at the conference.
Mark Mostacci, national fleet manager with TDL Group (better known as Tim Horton’s), said his fleet will be ordering 40 new tractors in 2010.
“We’re not going to avoid it, we’re going to embrace it,” Mostacci said of the EPA2010 emissions standards. He said his fleet took a similar approach in 2007 and despite some initial challenges, ended up enjoying better fuel mileage on its 07 vehicles and recouping its investment.
I realize that the opinions of a few industry leaders do not a consensus make. But it’s still good news for truck and engine manufacturers, and perhaps it’s why Volvo decided to roll out its EPA2010-compliant vehicles early. The company announced last week that it is now accepting orders for 2010-compliant engines at the behest of its customers.
“A number of customers have expressed an interest in placing SCR-equipped units in their fleets ahead of 2010,” said Scott Kress, senior vice-president, sales and marketing.
Don’t forget, Volvo’s EPA2010 trucks and engines will come with a non-negotiable $9,600 emissions surcharge and other manufacturers are likely to be in the same ballpark. Yet customers are looking to buy these more expensive vehicles early? What does that say about our industry? Apparently fleets are beginning to see real value in going green, even at a substantial cost. As shippers monitor their carbon footprint all the way through the supply chain, fleets that are embracing the changes foisted upon the industry by the EPA are seeing green in more ways than one.

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James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 20 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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