ATA hammers out energy policy

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The American Trucking Associations’ Board of Directors today unanimously endorsed an energy resolution that includes limiting the use of biodiesel.

The resolution — sanctioned by the board members at ATA’s annual Management Conference and Exhibition in Boston — outlined the organization’s efforts to combat escalating fuel prices and help shape a comprehensive national energy plan.

The ATA lobbying for a national energy plan

It calls for increasing the diesel fuel supply; improving the balance between environmental concerns and fuel efficiency; eliminating boutique diesel fuels, and limiting the use of biodiesel.

Recently, Minnesota became the first US jurisdiction to mandate a B2 (2 percent biodiesel) blend for truckers filling up in the state.

“Given the trucking industry’s reliance on available and affordable diesel fuel to move America’s goods and products, we urge the government to act quickly and strongly on our suggested initiatives,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said. “Our current economic conditions require strong actions as part of a comprehensive national energy plan that enables us to deliver America’s goods. The national economy depends upon a healthy and viable trucking industry.”

For years, the US has under-invested in domestic refining capacity increasing dependency on foreign sources of crude oil and refined petroleum products, Graves said. At the same time, fuel prices spikes have been more extreme than necessary because the lack of a single nation diesel fuel standard generates regional price disparities and heightens localized supply shortages.

Rising fuel costs are hitting the trucking industry at a time when it is adopting new engine technology designed to meet reduced emission standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency and transitioning to Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel Fuel — a standard of 15 ppm which is expected to come into force in fall of 2006. These new engines are expected to be less fuel efficient, burning more diesel, in turn increasing motor carrier operating costs, Graves says.

It’s the ATA’s view that an uninterrupted fuel supply is essential to meet the nation’s transportation needs and prevent an economic collapse.

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