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Raising the Standards of the Trucking Industry

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Rule Targeting Truck Fuel Efficiency Stifles Innovation

EPA NHTSA Notice of proposed rulemaking

DOT and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by March 2015 becoming final by March 2016


President Obama’s order for the DOT and EPA to develop and issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) by March 2015 to increase Fuel Efficiency standards and Greenhouse Gas Emissions standards also calls for technological innovations and alternate fuels.

Is there a contradiction in this?

First, many are shaking their heads as the thought of being fuel efficient and reducing GHGE doesn’t seem logical. None the less, products are being introduced, accomplishing both and are available as we speak. (as in yesterdays post)

A question being asked is, what will be introduced in the NPRM?  Will it include standards, criteria, and goals to establish fuel efficiency and emission requirements? Or will it dictate what  HAS to be done to meet those standards?  If the latter is the case, then where does the call for “Innovation for Technology” come into play?  Will it be enough to have your truck meet all standards, utilizing new or existing technology? Or will you be told what you MUST employ as part of your strategy for meeting  those standards.  Perhaps purchasing a truck which meets the standards?

The problem as we see it is, innovative technology comes in all shapes and forms, not solely new truck and engine design.  Mandates that include being required to purchase specific model/year trucks to meet fuel and emission standards will hurt the economy in general, including owner operators and small business, and will certainly squelch the incentive to strive for new technology to meet standards on older trucks.  New truck and engine manufactures however will welcome any such required new truck mandate should it be a part of the rule.

The aggressive action being called for does not take into consideration the fragile economy nor the financial struggles that presently exist for owner operators and small fleets. In our opinion, truck owners should be able to maintain their present vehicle as long as they meet new fuel and emission standards ( that is the goal, right?).  This would relieve not only financial stress for the industry, but also for businesses who have developed innovations already, meeting prior fuel and emission requirements.

So the question is:  What will be the genuine goal for the DOT and EPA rulemaking? To have trucks meet standards for fuel efficient requirements and GHG emissions?  Or to is it to dictate how those standards are to be met. If the latter tends to hold true, than the only technological innovation for the trucking industry which will have incentive could be engine and truck manufacturers.

Another question brought to mind is the thought, when will it end? Will following studies and rules later create more burden for the industry, 2,5 or 10 years down the road, creating even more urgency to purchase another wave of more efficient trucks?

Here’s a thought to expand on that:  Natural Gas has long been considered a viable option for heavy duty vehicles for both reducing dependency on foreign oil and by reducing the carbon footprint.  A recent study however suggest that Natural Gas may actually be worse for the climate, over the long run, than diesel-fueled vehicles.
So what happens to the fleet that purchases 100 trucks using NG only to find out studies confirm that NG emits far greater green house gases ( such as methane) than initially thought?

© 2014, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 37 year veteran who started at an early age in a household goods family moving business. He began driving straight trucks in 1977 and moved to the big rigs in 1982. His experience within the industry includes; owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and owner of a long distance HHG moving business, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. Allen Smith, a truck driver advocate who is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. Allen and his wife Donna are hosts of Truth About Trucking ”Live” on Blog Talk Radio. Other websites include AskTheTrucker, TruckingSocialMedia, NorthAmericanTruckingALerts, TruthAboutTrucking, and many Social Media websites. In 2011 Allen and Donna hosted the first Truck Driver Social Media Convention, designed to create unity and solutions for the trucking industry. This is now being extended through the North American Trucking Alerts network as those within the industry join forces for the betterment of the industry. Allen strongly supports other industry advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who share honesty, guidance and direction. He believes that all those involved in trucking need to be accountable for their part within the industry, including drivers, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers, etc… The list of supporters and likeminded people grow daily, networking together and sharing thoughts and ideas for the betterment of trucking. He has coined the popular phrase "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

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