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Editorial Comment: Encouraging early adoption of 07 engines

Growing up in a household with a smoker and then having many friends who smoked, I was never one to be bothered by the clouds of tobacco smoke I often found myself living within. However, as years wen...


Growing up in a household with a smoker and then having many friends who smoked, I was never one to be bothered by the clouds of tobacco smoke I often found myself living within. However, as years went by and I moved out on my own and most of those friends gave up smoking, I now find I’m one of the first to complain about the smell of tobacco or the putrid air cigarettes produce.

It’s not that I feel smoking should be banned altogether – in fact, I wrote in this space recently that truckers should be allowed to smoke in their own truck cabs – but I now try to avoid smoke whenever I can. Having reduced my exposure to cigarette smoke drastically over the years, I find my tolerance for it has diminished and it bothers me more than ever when I cannot avoid a smoky environment.

Likewise, the same can be said about the heavy-duty trucks that travel our highways.

As a staunch supporter of the trucking industry, I take it upon myself to tell anyone who will listen about the leaps and bounds the industry has made in cleaning up its act and reducing its emissions. It’s a truly incredible success story that is worth telling.

It used to be acceptable to operate equipment that belched out black smoke with every upshift. Much like it was at one time acceptable to smoke cigarettes in office buildings – or for that matter, on airplanes.

I didn’t think twice when I had to roll up the car window or close the vents to avoid being smoked out of my vehicle by a tractor-trailer as it worked through the gears on the road in front of me.

However, now I find myself cringing each time I see an older model truck that still performs this now-obscene act. It doesn’t happen very often, fortunately, but every once in a while a poorly maintained truck reinforces the incorrect perception that most of the public still holds: that trucks are major polluters.

Those of us in the industry know better. We know that it takes six of today’s trucks to create the particulate emissions of just one truck sold in 1988. And it will take 60 2007 trucks to match that of a truck sold in 1988. We’ve come a long way.

I recently had the chance to participate in the now-famous hanky test, holding a white handkerchief over the smokestack of a Volvo truck with a 2007 engine under the hood. As promised, the hanky maintained its whiteness and didn’t smell of any type of emissions after a few moments over top the stack.

Now, I think the time is right for government to help encourage the implementation of these ‘green’ trucks into the industry. So far, industry alone has had to shoulder the cost burden of meeting these stringent new environmental standards.

By offering tax incentives to fleets that purchase the new trucks sooner rather than later, government can ease the financial sting of the new equipment and help rid our highways of the last remaining ‘smokers.’

James Menzies can be reached by phone at (416) 510-6896 or by e-mail at jmenzies@trucknews.com.


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