Trucking Industry to Obama: Yes, We Can

FREDERICK, MD — Shortly after President Barack Obama announced the second phase of efficiency regulation for heavy trucks, Volvo and Daimler showed their support.

“DTNA is committed to regulatory leadership and we applaud standards that include total cost of ownership as a primary benefit for our customers,” said Sean Waters, director of product compliance and regulatory affairs at Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA).”Freightliner customers have come to rely on us to keep them in an industry leading position regardless of regulatory requirements as best exemplified by the Cascadia Evolution that paces the industry in fuel efficiency and lowest total cost of ownership.

The president’s Tuesday announcement called for the next round of rules, covering vehicles beyond model year 2018. It made new cuts to fuel use and greenhouse gases (GHG), to be completed by March 2016.  In 2012 under Phase I efforts, fuel efficiency gains and truck emission reductions of 20 percent were achieved which exceeded the original goal of a 15 percent reduction for each by 2020.

These new regulations are no surprise to truckers and not many seem to be breaking a sweat over them, either.

Susan Alt, senior vice president of public affairs for Volvo Group North America commented: “As a leading manufacturer of heavy trucks, buses and engines, we remain committed to producing products that reduce our carbon footprint and offer increased fuel efficiency benefits to our customers.”

“The Volvo Group wants to ensure that Phase II of the national program establishes a complete vehicle standard to optimize fuel efficiency in a cost-effective manner that offers the most benefit to customers and the environment,” Alt said.

Complete vehicle emissions standards – as opposed to separate standards for engines and vehicles – will allow manufacturers to deliver the greatest value with less complexity, and without making the engine or overall truck heavier or compromising vehicle aerodynamics.


And after all, why should the pros be worried? A quick look over the shoulder will show that trucks have not only met previous efficiency regulations, but exceeded them.

At the start of 2014, heavy-duty engine and truck makers had to offer new models of diesel engines to comply with the first phase of standards for lower emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and minimum fuel economy levels, as required by EPA and the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

How did they do?

Volvo’s truck brands – Volvo and Mack – were fully certified even before the ruling took effect. Depending on the model and specifications, engine fuel efficiency improved more than two percent, translating into a reduction of up to five tons of CO2 emissions per truck per year.

And Daimler achieved full certification for our entire product line, including Freightliner, Western Star, Thomas Built Buses and Detroit Engines, as well. This year is the third year for vehicles and second year for engines that DTNA has been certified as fully complaint. DTNA was the first manufacturer to announce GHG standards compliance.

Not only that, but trucks in general have a good track record. The clean diesel technology of 2010 performed better than expected even by the law when it came to reduced emissions, according to a study by the Coordinating Research Council and Health Effects Institute.

“These findings underscore just how clean this new generation of fuels, engines and emissions control technology really is, coming in substantially cleaner than required under the EPA and California Air Resources Board standards,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, an organization representing the diesel industry. 

The study found the new models reduce emissions of nitrogen dioxide by more than 60 percent when compared to 2007 models and by 99 percent when compared to 2004 models.

“Not only are the 2010 and later model year technology near zero emissions for fine particles, this study confirms that they are also substantially below the EPA/CARB standard for one of the key precursors to ozone formation, nitrogen dioxide,” Schaeffer said. 

Also, more than one-third of commercial trucks and buses are using 2007 and newer technology and 11 percent are using 2010 or newer technology.

The Coordinating Research Council is an organization that directs engineering and environmental studies on the interaction between automotive and other mobility equipment and petroleum products whose partners include both government and industry.

The Health Effects Institute is an independent research organization that studies science on the health effects of air pollution whose sponsors include both the federal government and vehicle and engine makers.

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