Truckers want ’07 aid; engine makers on pace

WASHINGTON, (March 5, 2004) — The U.S. trucking industry is lobbying Congress’ watchdog in helping it get financial incentives to offset the high compliance costs of the stringent ’07 emissions rules mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Environmental Protection Agency should consider creating an independent panel to assess possible “financial incentives” or other support for the trucking industry, says a draft of a General Accounting Office study obtained by The Associated Press. Financial aid could come in the form of tax credits or tax benefits gained through accelerated depreciation, sources told AP.

The report — which is titled “EPA Could Maximize the Benefits from the 2007 Diesel Emissions Standards by Better Addressing Industry Concerns” — is expected to be the focus of the Diesel Engine Emissions Summit II in Florida, whose participants include the GAO staffer who oversaw the study. The EPA will also participate in the conference.

The American Trucking Associations is strongly requesting the government consider such incentives. As they did with the first round of regulated engines before October ’02, many trucking companies fear the new ’07 engines will raise costs in the areas of fuel economy, reliability, and maintenance.

Meanwhile, the EPA released a report yesterday that states engine manufacturers are on target in meeting the ’07 requirements. The EPA says all of the engine manufacturers have demonstrated the ability to meet new nitrogen oxide emission control system standards. Most engine makers are extending EGR technology created to meet ’02 requirements, while Caterpillar will be building on its patented ACERT technology.

— with files from Associated Press

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