Leaders at the American Trucking Associations (ATA) said Tuesday they were cautiously optimistic that the second round of the Obama administration’s greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for commercial trucks would achieve the targets set out by the administration.
And they expressed hope that the 10-year phase-in period for the regulation would not be unduly disruptive to commercial fleets and truck manufacturers.
“While today’s fuel prices are more than 50 percent lower than those we experienced in 2008, fuel is still one of the top two operating expenses for most trucking companies,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “That’s why our industry has worked closely with both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) over the past three-and-a-half years to ensure these fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards took into account the wide diversity of equipment and operations across the trucking sector.”
Since EPA and NHTSA announced the second round of standards for commercial trucks, engines and trailers in 2015, ATA has been evaluating their potential impacts on the trucking industry and has been in constant dialogue with fleets, suppliers, and manufacturers to make sure that Phase 2 could be effectively implemented.
“ATA developed and adopted a set of 15 guiding principles to serve as our major parameters for inclusion in the final rule,” said ATA Vice President and Energy and Environmental Counsel Glen Kedzie. “We are pleased that our concerns — adequate lead-time for technology development, national harmonization of standards, and flexibility for manufacturers — have been heard and included in the final rule.
“While efficiency milestones for vehicles, engines and trailers have all been slightly increased over the agencies’ initial proposal, we are encouraged that they addressed several important issues in the final rule including undertaking annual rule assessments, not accelerating compliance timelines from those originally proposed and refining emissions modeling based on industry data,” he said. “However, while the potential for real cost savings and environmental benefits under this rule are there, fleets will ultimately determine the success or failure of this rule based on their comfort level purchasing these new technologies.”
“As we have for many years through the EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership or in the discussions we had with regulators as this rule has been developed, ATA will continue to work with its members and the agencies to ensure that the objectives of this regulation are achieved,” Spear said. “For that to happen, however, the process adopted by EPA and NHTSA must remain transparent, accommodating and sensitive to the concerns of manufacturers and fleets as they are the ones who ultimately must bear the burden of complying with these new requirements.”