2010 timetable affirmed; now OEMs want to move on

LEHIGH VALLEY, Pa. — Truck OEMs invested in SCR technology are applauding the Environmental Protection Agency for standing firm on its scheduled Jan. 1, 2010 deadline for new emission reduction rules.

At least one truckmaker and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) had been calling for "a restructured timeline" for the newest, and most stringent, round of EPA engine rules. OOIDA in particular complained the industry needed "breathing room to build confidence" because the 2010 SCR technology would be expensive.

Navistar International, the only North American truckmaker not using SCR to meet the rules, supported a variation of the theme. Spokesman Roy Wiley recently told us the company wasn’t calling for postponement, per se, but wanted the EPA to allow current 2007 engines to be sold past January 2010.

Although the EPA will allow some manufacturers to slightly exceed mandated nitrous oxide levels on 2010 heavy-duty equipment for a short while (by accumulating emissions credits on other products that exceed standards), the agency confirmed in a recent interview with Transport Topics magazine that it will not move the goalposts for 2010 now and any rumors policy makers will reverse their stance are misleading.

"Implementing the emission rules for heavy-duty engines is going smoothly [and] will be a reality in 2010," EPA spokesman Dale Kemery told TT. "We’re on track."

Volvo Trucks North America President Per Carlsson says he hopes all the talk of changing the schedule can now be put to rest.

"EPA has clearly stated that it has no intention of changing the 2010 timetable, and it’s counter-productive and misleading to suggest that the agency might change its mind in the 11th hour," said Carlsson in a press release.

Dennis Slagle, CEO of sister company Mack Trucks, echoed that theme, saying the recent dialogue to delay implementation was "an unproductive distraction."

Both companies also defended SCR for 2010, reminding customers that the technology is the dominant solution for emission rules in Europe and Japan. While expected to be more expensive than EGR, it promises 3-5 percent better fuel economy.

“Our testing and real-world experience demonstrates SCR is the optimal solution,” said Carlsson. “More than half a million trucks use SCR every day in Europe alone, from the Arctic Circle to Turkey, so we know it works in any climate and condition.”

Slagle says the EPA’s statement is good news also because it safeguards the ongoing development of a distribution network for the diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) used in SCR.


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