LET’S TALK UREA

Rolf Lockwood

November 19, 2008 Vol. 4, No. 24

Amidst all the fury and fear-mongering about our woeful state of financial affairs, and I mean pretty much the entire industrialized world, one trucking subject remains at the top of many interest lists: the North American engines of 2010.

With International vowing to stick with EGR but urging the EPA to delay the implementation of the ‘010 emissions rules, all other engine makers are working hard to allay fears about the switch to SCR, or selective catalytic reduction. As with the motors of 2002/04 and then 2007, the price of a diesel will rise by upwards of $10,000 in 11 months’ time. But that’s not what has people worried, a serious hike though it is. Nobody’s worried enough to create another pre-buy situation because hardly anyone can afford to buy new trucks anyway. The potential disruption of a pre-buy has become a non-issue.

The worry is focused on DEF, or diesel exhaust fluid, what we just called urea until recently. Every 2010 engine’s aftertreatment system will need to drink it, and every ‘010 truck will have a tank hanging off the frame rails holding about 30 liters of the stuff. If that little tank runs empty, and it will get you about 5000 miles, there will be minor or major hell to pay.

For a while it seemed many of us were lulled into thinking that the infrastructure required to supply DEF across North America, while a big challenge, would be dealt with by… well, by those who deal with such things. After all, it was accomplished more or less seamlessly in Europe.

Well, not so fast.

Rolf Lockwood

Rolf Lockwood is editor emeritus of Today's Trucking and a regular contributor to Trucknews.com.

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