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Truck dealers voice concerns about US fuel economy standards

CHICAGO, Ill. -- Proposed fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks must be "appropriate, cost-effective and technologically feasible" as well as uniform across the country, Kyle Treadway, chair of the American Truck Dealers told...


CHICAGO, Ill. — Proposed fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks must be “appropriate, cost-effective and technologically feasible” as well as uniform across the country, Kyle Treadway, chair of the American Truck Dealers told legislators today.

He was speaking at a hearing on the proposed US fuel economy standards that were announced last month. Treadway is president of Kenworth Sales Company in West Valley City, Utah and sells Kenworth and Mitsubishi Fuso trucks. He expressed concern that the US could develop a patchwork of fuel economy mandates from state to state if the feds don’t amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to ensure states don’t come out with their own requirements.

“This prohibition of any patchwork of state laws related to fuel economy is critical to dealers like me who sell new vehicles in several states, yet is even more important to our customers, such as for-hire carriers, private companies, public fleets and owner/operators who purchase trucks and engines in every state in the nation,” Treadway said.

He added that if fuel economy mandates for new trucks permit non-identical state rules, it “would impose an untenable burden on the R&D resources, the manufacturing processes and the marketing and distribution systems of new truck and engine manufacturers,” as well as “ordering and stocking nightmares for dealers and their customers.”

Treadway cited California as an example, which already forces operators to run trucks that comply with its own emissions standards that are different than EPA’s. Treadway said some carriers no longer deliver into California while others maintain a more expensive fleet of trucks to make California deliveries. Others, he said, relay freight at the state boundary.

“Each of these choices increases the handling of freight, restricts competition, raises freight rates and ultimately increases fuel consumption per tonne/mile,” said Treadway. “Consequently, there must only be one set of national fuel economy-related standards for new vehicles.” 

Treadway also stressed the new standards must be affordable, or customers will simply continue running older equipment.

“My customers have options,” he said. “Instead of choosing to buy new fuel-efficient vehicles, they can instead pay my service and parts operations to help them keep their existing vehicles on the road, up to and including re-building engines or vehicles.”

Lastly, Treadway stressed that new fuel economy standards must not compromise vehicle performance.

“Before my customers lay out the substantial investments necessary to purchase new vehicles, they want to be assured that they won’t be buying performance compromises, such as a decrease in freight hauling capability or an increase in maintenance and repair,” he said. “Especially with engines and other drivetrain components, improving one metric, such as fuel economy, must not diminish other critical performances metrics or result in higher vehicle costs. Otherwise, fuel-efficiency improvements won’t get bought and will fail in the marketplace.”


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