The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new emissions standards for heavy-duty truck and engine manufacturers to further reduce emissions starting in 2027.
For those of us working in the heavy-duty parts business, we’ve heard about these changes that would come into effect in 2027. But exactly what those changes are, is still unclear.
The EPA says “the proposed standards would reduce emissions of smog- and soot-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) from heavy-duty gasoline and diesel engines by as much as 60% by 2045 and set updated greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for certain commercial vehicle categories.”
Step One of the EPA Clean Trucks Plan
The EPA is “seeking comment from industry stakeholders on two regulatory options listed” and is “giving full consideration to both options, as well as the full range of options between them.”
What does that mean for manufacturers and heavy-duty parts distributors?
This is what we know. Both proposed options would begin with trucks manufactured in 2027, with a possible second step for 2031 vehicles depending on which option is selected.
“Engines made after 2010 emit roughly 30 times less NOx than those made before 2010.”Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association
Extending the Durability of Engines and Diesel Emissions Systems
When diesel emissions systems were introduced in 2007, and additional requirements were added in 2010, it transformed the diesel engine. Many operators of commercial equipment complained that the engines were not as reliable and that the aftertreatment systems were not cost-effective or dependable.
Many felt that the EPA had effectively destroyed the diesel engine. There is a bit of irony with this latest EPA proposal because they are now “proposing, in part, to require manufacturers to extend the durability of their engines and emissions systems to make sure the engines will meet applicable emissions standards throughout their regulatory useful life.”
Extended Warranty Part of EPA Proposal
In the US and Canada, it is illegal to tamper with the diesel emissions system. The US has enforced this much more stringently than in Canada, but the temptation to “delete” the diesel emissions system to gain more dependable performance is still very tempting for many people who operate trucks and equipment with diesel engines.
The EPA is proposing that “manufacturers extend warranty periods for engines and emissions systems,” hoping that this will result in “better engine maintenance and less tampering with emissions controls.”
“In addition, longer regulatory warranty periods may lead engine manufacturers to simplify repair processes and make them more aware of system defects that would be tracked and reported to EPA over a longer period,” the proposal added.
Proposed Warranties for Engine Manufacturers
As we mentioned above there are two options being proposed at this time and the warranties for the engines would be as follows:
- Option 1: 2027 – 2030 engines would have a 7-year, 450,000 mile warranty, 2031 and later engines would have a 10-year, 600,000 mile warranty
- Option 2: 2027 and later engines would have a 5-year, 350,000 mile warranty
If the first option is selected, this immediately impacts the independent service channel and the aftermarket heavy-duty parts manufacturers that provide parts and service to independently owned fleets and owner-operators.
Lack of Collaborative Rulemaking Process – Again
Once again members of the trucking industry are sounding the alarm about a “lack of collaborative rulemaking process with input from professional truck drivers” which will result in more unpractical emissions standards that hurt owner-operators, small fleets, and the independent service channel.
“The EPAs announcement largely ignores (the goal of a collaborative rulemaking process) in favor of government overreach that will almost assuredly force safe drivers off the road, especially small-business truckers and owner-operators.”Statement by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA)
The EPA is faced with many difficult decisions, on the one hand, they see the clear scientific evidence that our planet is warming at an alarmingly rapid rate, while on the other hand, they must ensure that the regulations they put in place to curb emissions and slow the rate of warming do not destroy our ability to produce economically and send our society into chaos.
The Cost of Emissions Standards
We’ve never seen complexity lead to lower costs. As diesel engines become more complex to achieve these new standards, whatever option the EPA chooses, the additional complexity is going to mean that maintenance and repairs are going to cost more money and more downtime when something inevitably goes wrong.
The additional warranty coverage may help with parts and labor but it doesn’t help with the downtime which typically is exponentially more than the parts and labor costs.
It has been reported that in the EPAs new proposal “they estimate that these new standards will add about $4000 in cost to each vehicle” for the manufacturers of these new diesel engines. The EPA admits it cannot estimate how manufacturers will pass these costs on to the vehicle owners.
It is not unreasonable to expect the $4000 in additional costs to the manufacturer will double to $8000 or more for the vehicle owners. With inflation at 30-year highs, diesel at record-breaking highs, and geopolitical instability in Europe and Asia, the thought of adding more costs to the trucking industry is in many people’s opinion unthinkable and reckless.
This is understandable since those that experienced the problems previous emissions standards caused, which included costly breakdowns and skyrocketing maintenance and repairs costs, do not have a lot of confidence that these new emissions standards won’t create additional burdens for the men and women working in the trucking industry and by extension all in society who rely on the industry.
The Trucking Industry Wants Clean Air
The men and women that work in the trucking industry at every level from manufacturing to driving trucks, repairing trucks, and supplying parts all want clean air for their families and their communities.
“Make no mistake, clean air is a priority for everyone,” OOIDA said. “Truckers know this better than most folks, especially when they are having to pay over $5 a gallon [for fuel] in some places. However, we believe there is a more realistic path forward to reducing commercial vehicle emissions that actually involves listening to men and women in the trucking industry. … Truckers know all too well from experience with previous rulemakings that poorly implemented regulations will result in breakdowns, downtime, and ultimately set back the goal of achieving cleaner air.”
For additional information about this, you can read this article from our friends at Overdrive Online.