’07 engines to last longer?

TORONTO — No, we don’t mean by the headline above that the engines of our present emissions standard are more durable than others, (though that would be welcome news to many cash-strapped truck operators).

That said, there is a move afoot to have the Environmental Protection Agency allow engines to be built and sold to the 2007 spec beyond the next emissions deadline in January of 2010.

Don’t hold your breath, but a couple of weeks back the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) called for "a restructured timeline, phasing in the new emission standards to allow ample breathing room and build confidence within the trucking industry." Navistar has since said it supports the idea, or a variation on the theme.

Citing a study looking at the implications of the next emissions rules, funded by Navistar, the Missouri-based owner-operator group said there will be a sharp drop in new truck sales after 2010.

It says truck operators will be unwilling or unable to pay the anticipated premium — likely to average about US$7000. Fear of the new ‘010 emissions technology will also cause buyers to steer clear of truck purchases. The result will be market disruption and job losses, OOIDA said, not to mention a delay in the environmental benefits intended by the 2010 EPA standard.

Navistar plans to use banked emission credits
to meet 2010 heavy-duty standards.

Navistar’s own position on this has been reported a little inaccurately in at least one case, characterized as a call to delay implementation of the 2010 rules. That’s not the case.

"We are not calling for a delay or a postponement," Navistar spokesman Roy Wiley told Today’s Trucking. "These are catastrophic economic times so what we want is the government to allow us to continue selling both 2007 and 2010 engines [after the January 2010 deadline].

"We’re saying, OK, let’s help these guys who can’t afford new engines… We’re saying something has to be done.

"We’re ready for 2010," Wiley said. "Bring it on, we say."

Navistar, of course, is the one and only engine maker using exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) technology to comply with the rigorous 2010 rules. All the others will use selective catalytic reduction (SCR), which promises to bring with it a fuel-economy gain of 3 to 5 percent.

But there’s a bit of a wrinkle in there with the new 11- and 13-liter International Maxxforce engines that are just now starting production. The company was recently reported to have said that while its 2010 engines could meet the EPA’s mandate of nitrous oxide levels at or below 0.2 g/hp-hr (particulate levels don’t change from 2007), it plans to exceed that standard for a while — legally — by use of accumulated emissions credits.

Roy Wiley confirmed the company will do this for a year or two after January, 2010 so as to fine-tune the engine’s performance and fuel efficiency. Navistar is building up those credits because its present engines do better than the EPA ’07 limits on NOx and particulate matter.

Other engine makers are very likely to use credits as well for certain engine models, and some are doing it now.

However, those manufacturers using SCR argue that there is no reason to move the goalposts since the business downturn has much more to do with a reduction in industry capacity in the face of reduced freight volumes and a fuel savings advantage with SCR would offset a hike in upfront equipment costs.

 

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