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How to Prepare for the EPA’s 2027 Emissions Regulations

Learn about the upcoming EPA’s 2027 emission regulation changes, how they’re going to impact the trucking industry, and how this is influencing a new standard in engine oil.

Episode 261: In December of 2022, the EPA made an announcement that they have set their standards for heavy-duty vehicles for the year 2027. We have known for some time that these regulations were coming, but now that they’re here, and we have some insight into these regulations, we now understand how these are going to impact the trucking industry as a whole. In this episode, we have 3 subject matter experts to talk about some of these implications.

Learn about the upcoming EPA’s 2027 emission regulation changes, how they’re going to impact the trucking industry, and how this is influencing a new standard in engine oil. In this episode, we have 3 subject matter experts to talk about some of these implications.

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Transcript of Episode:

Jamie Irvine:

You are listening to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I’m your host, Jamie Irvine, and this is the show where you get expert advice about heavy-duty parts that keeps trucks and trailers on the road longer while lowering costs per mile.

In December of 2022, the EPA made an announcement that they had set their standards for heavy-duty vehicles for the 2027 year. Now, we’ve known for some time that these regulations were coming, and now that they’re here and we have a little bit more insight into what they are, we now are starting to understand exactly how it’s going to impact the trucking industry and by extension that impacts people who sell replacement parts- service and who supply commodities things like engine oil. In this episode, I’ve assembled three subject matter experts to talk about some of these implications. We’re going to talk about it from the perspective of the truck manufacturers. We’re going to talk about it from the perspective of the diesel emission system, and we’re going to talk about how this is influencing a new standard in engine oil. This is a packed episode with so much good information. So to start, let me introduce my first subject matter expert, a returning guest on the show.

John Adami:

Hi, I’m John Adam with Northwest Heavy-Duty co-founder of a manufacturing rep agency that’s based out in the Seattle area.

Jamie Irvine:

We’re talking about regulations, John, and we’re talking about the impact that this has on the trucking industry, and we had some questions for you that I’m curious about. We heard of the announcement of the targets for 2027 with the EPA to further reduce emissions on trucks. You work pretty closely with the OEM, so you probably have some insight into how that impacts the manufacturing of trucks and what that’s going to look like for the trucking industry. So can you explain exactly what the target is for this 2027 EPA regulation change?

John Adami:

Sure, I’d be happy to do that. I can hit three key highlights for you, Jamie, and for your audience. And I’d like to start off by saying this is a different type of legislation or a different way of going about doing a regulation because you can’t think of it as just a specific target, like a target for NOx or a target for particulate. That’s what we’re familiar with based on prior regulatory cycles. This time it’s a little bit more complex. It’s always a little bit more complex, but I’d like to unpack that for you a little bit. First of all, there is going to be a new target for NOx and that’s what grabs the headlines. Right now you’re allowed 0.2 grams of NOx per brake horsepower hour in 2027, there will be a new objective for tailpipe emissions. It concerns no X, and it’ll reduce the amount NOx permitted from 0.2 grams per brake horsepower hour down to 0.035.

Okay, that’s almost a 90% reduction, right? But it’s for it’s per brake horsepower hour, and there are specific duty cycles where this goes into effect. It’s not a broad brush requirement over all operating conditions. In fact, the primary impact is going to be on engine startup. today you have an exemption. The system is cold, the catalytic converter is not operating at peak efficiency, so allowed to exceed the threshold that you have when you’re moving down the highway and the system is operating a peak efficiency, that deviation, if you will, is going to be eliminated and you are now required to have a clean system with respect to NOx when you have vehicle startup. To do that, you’re going to have to have a heating system in place, and we’re already becoming familiar with this heating system because although the federal requirement goes into effect in 2027, state of California’s requirement goes into effect in 2024.

Now, their requirement is not quite as stringent. They’re doing a 75% reduction going from 0.2 grams to 0.05 grams, but they’re doing it three years earlier than the federal regulation. And to meet that, the equipment will have to have a 48 volt heating system to preheat the catalytic converter. But here’s where this new regulation that was published in December is a bigger deal. The engines really aren’t going to change that much because of this NOx. You’re not going to see anything elaborate in terms of the 13 – 15 liter diesel engines that are on the road today. What you’re going to see is two big things that are happening behind the scenes. One is technological and the other is administrative. Technologically , the OBD requirements get a lot tougher. You can’t, and I’m not going to be able to unpack it here, and I think there’s other people that can do it better than I would, but at the end of the day, when you look at the OBD requirements, OBD being onboard diagnostics, think of them as becoming much more aggressive, right?

If you’re sampling the system on an hourly basis, maybe you’re doing it multiple times per hour. If you’re only doing it during steady state operation, now you’re doing it during startups, shutdown, et cetera, et cetera, you are going to be analyzing the efficacy and the reliability of your system much more often. Why is that important? It’s important because the possibility of false fails is going to jump dramatically. If you’re checking your system more frequently, you’re going to find problems more frequently. Problems require repair, taking a vehicle out of service, going through that whole process, it’s too early to say what the implications of this. If you’re a vehicle OEM, obviously you’re concerned with making these systems as robust as possible so you don’t get the false fails. That’s the way you ensure a customer satisfaction. But if you’re going to make the systems more robust, and now we’re talking about sensors and electronic control systems, you’re making them more expensive.

So at some point there becomes a trade off. You can’t just keep ramping up the cost of these systems. At some point you got to release the product and live with its capabilities. Well, we don’t know yet what those are, Jamie. It just seems like OBD is going to make the potential for false fails increase. The third thing, and then I’ll hand it back to you, but it’s big, is warranty. Right now, the regulations require, if I’m correct in my understanding, that the warranty on the emission system is maintained for 100,000 miles. That might have originated from passenger car requirements like truck requirements and a hundred thousand miles. Pretty much covers maybe not the useful life of the vehicle, but a good chunk of it, not the case with commercial vehicles in many, many applications a hundred thousand miles is that’s in the first year.

Jamie Irvine:

I don’t normally like to stop a guest mid-sentence like we did here, but as John was talking about the implications of warranty, it made me think of a conversation I had with Steve Hoke, President of Diesel Emission Service, and they sell the Redline Emissions product brand of after treatment replacement parts. It made me think of some of his comments back in January when we were at HDAW. I want you to just listen into what Steve had to say specifically about why this change in warranty could be a good thing for the owners of vehicles. So just listen to what Steve had to say.

Steve Hoke:

What’s happening in 2027 is they’re basically making the manufacturers clean up a little bit more on the NOx side. So it’ll basically be a dual SER system, but the big advantage for the truck owner is the EPA is mandating that the OEM manufacturers extend the warranties on their after treatment or their emission systems to where five years down the road they’re still compliant or they can be replaced under warranty, which for the trucker, that’s a fantastic thing or for the fleet themselves.

Jamie Irvine:

Okay, let’s get back to what John was saying about how this is going to impact manufacturers and of course vehicle owners.

John Adami:

If and as again, my understanding is these regulations extend the warranty period to 300,000 miles, 400,000, 500,000. Again, what are the OEMs going to do to make the systems now more robust than they are today? And how much are they going to charge for them? And finally, what do we do? What choices do we make when our vehicle is under warranty versus not under warranty? Where do we take our vehicles when they’re under warranty? We take ’em back to the dealership. If they’re out of warranty we have some more flexibility where we go and often cost is a huge driver. It seems like if you’re going to put a longer warranty on the emissions system, that is going to drive more repair business back to the dealership for a longer period of time, and that is something that our industry needs to contemplate and prepare for.

Jamie Irvine:

It was really great talking to John about this. He’s such a wealth of information and it was so great to have John back on the podcast. As I was putting this episode together and the crew at The Heavy-Duty Parts Report were looking at this subject again, we look back to some of the conversations we had not that long ago at HDAW and Steve Hoke had a good point as him and I were talking at HDAW. I make the point that there is an overall feeling towards diesel emission systems. Most owners, they hate them. They don’t like the systems, they just see it as added cost. And Steve and I were talking about that and I think it’s relevant to this conversation because anytime these regulations have changed in the past, it historically hasn’t been really a good thing for the bottom line of the trucking industry.

Maybe it’s good for reducing pollution, maybe it’s good for humanity as a whole, but for trucking outfits, it seems to just be added cost. So listen in to Steve and I as we talk about that specifically because I think it is an important piece to the puzzle. Obviously these new regulations are going to change what is going to be on trucks from 2027 on, and that has a direct implication on maintenance and repair of those vehicles. So listen in to Steve and I’s conversation, when I talk about diesel emission systems publicly, we always get a lot of comments and feedback from people. A lot of drivers, they really hate the systems and I know that as someone like when I sold heavy-duty parts, I worked for a company that really didn’t even want to do diesel emission stuff. They just kind of wanted to almost ignore it. So what challenges are people having on the aftermarket side that you’ve observed kind of historically? And then let’s talk a little bit about where that might take us as these new regulations come into effect.

Steve Hoke:

So when you have a class of vehicle that you’ve run for 20 years, 30 years, 40 years, and never had specific segments of your engine other than adjust the valves or change your air cleaner or service points change how you operate your fleet, not only in downtime but in costs. Truckers get upset, fleets get upset. It keeps driving more cost to every mile that they drive. I think the biggest thing that we see is a lot of the maintenance, we always talk about this, the maintenance with the OEMs tell people are like the most perfect conditions. And we all know that real world isn’t a perfect condition. From the diesel particulate filter side, a DPF is basically, it catches soot, catches a particulate matter, but it’s done by volumetric efficiency. So you have a round can and as you fill it with ash, so all the burnt or oxidized soot that’s now ash, it takes away the volumetric efficiency, creates more back pressure, which then start wearing on all those other components. The vgt turbos don’t like it. The valve trains don’t like it. The valve guides don’t like it, so everybody blames the dpf. But because fleets were led to believe that they could go 250, 300,000 plus miles before servicing ’em, truthfully that was not good on the OEM’s part. They should have the diesel particular filters just like an oil filter costs a lot more, but it is a serviceable item that the fleets themselves should figure out what is their best number, 50,000, 75,000 or a hundred thousand mile service interval and then stick with that.

Jamie Irvine:

Whether we like it or not, changes are happening to the commercial trucking industry. They’re motivated by that push to a zero emissions world. It’s impacting the way ICE vehicles are going to be manufactured from 2027 and beyond. And every time a change like that is made, it doesn’t just impact one system. It often impacts many systems. And as people who sell parts and service, we need to understand what those changes are. After the break, we’re going to talk to a subject matter expert who sells oil. And because of these EPA changes in 2027, there has been a new standard in engine oil that has been brought forward. After the break, we’re going to learn all about that new standard and you’re going to find out everything you need to know. We’ll be right back. Don’t have a heavy-duty part number and need to look up a part? Go to parts.diesellaptops.com or download the app on Apple or Android to create your free account. Looking for high quality fuel injection for heavy-duty applications? Having one supplier for fuel injection allows you to better serve customers by providing them with a complete line which increases your sales and profitability. Learn more at ambacinternational.com/aftermarket.

Parts availability and quality have a big influence on fleets and owner operator’s total cost of operation. If they can’t find a part, it means more downtime. If they install a low quality part and it fails, it means even more costs like tow bills, hotels, meals for the driver, and lost revenue. That’s why we recommend Sampa. They manufacture a wide range of advanced parts for commercial vehicles. Their website has an intelligent product search engine and broad coverage of suspension, steering and fifth wheel components. Expect More. Expect Sampa. Visit sampa.com. Today we’re back from our break and before the break, we were talking about the EPA changes that are coming in 2027, how they impact trucks and manufacturers of those trucks, how it’s going to impact the diesel emission system. And this also is impacting the trucking industry as a whole because whether you own the trucks or you fix and repair them or supply parts, all of these changes impact you directly. One change that is going to come because of these EPA regulations is a new standard in engine oil. And while I was at TMC, I had a chance to talk to a subject matter expert and I wanted to share that conversation with you now.

Darryl Purificati:

I’m Darryl Purificati, Senior Technical Advisor for OEM and Automotive for HF Sinclair, representing the Petro Canada Lubricants brands.

Jamie Irvine:

Okay, Darryl, thank you so much for the opportunity to come and talk to you about some stuff that’s happening in the industry. That’s new. We’re here at TMC at the Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida. Darryl, can you tell me what is PC 12?

Darryl Purificati:

So PC 12 is the next generation of heavy-duty engine oils. It is the 12th generation since API has started to develop heavy-duty engine oils, and this represents the next and latest generation.

Jamie Irvine:

Okay, so why is it coming out now? What was motivating that? Why is the timing now important?

Darryl Purificati:

The timing of any category can be based on a number of factors. They can be from hardware changes or other advances in industry. Often environmental regulations come into place, so the EPAs and CARB have come out with regulations for the next generation of GHG emissions, and those come into effect in 2027. These heavy-duty engine oil categories take a while to develop. So we’re starting now to implement on January 1st, 2027.

Jamie Irvine:

Okay, that makes a lot of sense. And certainly with those announcement of those EPA regulations, we knew for a while that they were coming as it happened in the past when the EPA put out different regulations, it changed the technology on trucks, I think back to 2007 and 2010, with diesel emission systems and things like that. How is this change in PC 12 going to impact heavy-duty lubricants specifically?

Darryl Purificati:

Well, with any update to whether it environmental regulation, government regulation, hardware, technology advances, so we’re looking to improve not only emissions, but while we’re doing that, we’re improving the durability of the products that are being released, that people are using at the end of the day, as well as improvements in some standard performance characteristics while we’re generating compliance to the future regulations.

Jamie Irvine:

That makes sense. When it comes to these changes, I remember when I was selling parts back in, I think it was 2017, that was the last change, is that correct? Correct, yeah. Okay. And I remember that reverse compatibility was a big conversation when I’d go out into the field, I talked to fleets and talked to repair shops, say, hey, look, this change is coming. What do you need to know? So what do we need to know about reverse compatibility

Darryl Purificati:

Here? Yeah, you’re absolutely right. It was a big deal with the last category implementation. There was two separate categories, and it’s going to occur again as we move forward. OEMs are developing new engines and that art engine architecture is not always compatible with current technologies. So they’re designed specifically for lower HTS oils, and that’s the second category that’s going to continue as we move along in the future. Those engines are specifically designed to take advantage of fuel efficiencies, and the oils have been designed specifically for that architecture. Unfortunately, the viscometrics don’t work out and they’re not compatible with each other.

Jamie Irvine:

Oh, okay. So if you’re in a situation where you have a mixed fleet and you’ve got several different types of trucks, different engines, you’re now going to have to manage those based on engine type. Is that correct?

Darryl Purificati:

Yeah, and it’s been going on since the last category. There have been some OEMs that recommend the FA4 type oils that’s going to continue in the future where OEMs will develop engines and the architecture within that engines will be specific to CK4, FA4 as it is today, or the new proposed categories that will come promoted in 2027. There would be two categories based on the engine architecture designed by the OEMs themselves.

Jamie Irvine:

So immediately I’m thinking about a situation where maybe you’re a large fleet and you have vehicles going in a lot of different environments, maybe you even work in different locations, or if you’re a repair shop and you don’t really know whose truck you’re going to see next, how is these changes to these standards going to impact the performance of the engines? What do repair technicians and shops need to know about that?

Darryl Purificati:

So if you’re running a shop where you’re operating a fleet, you have to understand there’s two different oils that are going to be in the proposed category, and it’s the first step is always to find out the OEM or the make of the engine and determine what oil is recommended for that engine. When it comes to performance of the oil itself, it’s going to be a step forward. There’s going to be a greater level of durability, there’s going to be a better level of wear protection, fuel efficiency is always at the for forefront and what we’re looking at and all of these things help meet the government regulations. You have to understand that

Jamie Irvine:

Speaking of efficiencies and gains, I think maybe the heart and soul of these changes to regulations is to try to make things more sustainable to make the performance better over time. So what kinds of performance gains, what kinds of maybe fuel efficiency or move towards more sustainability are we going to see with this new proposed standard?

Darryl Purificati:

The new standards can address greenhouse gas emissions when it comes to sustainability and efficiencies in a fleet, we can look to other things that are outside of the standard, so you’ll have the performance benefit of the standard, but when you’re managing your oil program within a fleet or within a shop, we can look at things like extending oil drains. So fewer oil changes over a million kilometers, you may have three or four oil changes fewer, if fewer have a program in place to extend your oil drain intervals. That helps reduce the amount of overall oil that you use, that reduces the amount of waste that you use. Things like oil filters that trap oil, fewer of those need to be replaced. All of those type of efforts help in the overall sustainability. And then when it comes to fuel efficiency, we’re used to seeing things like skirting and aerodynamics and the hardware on a truck. When we’re looking at engine oils, the performance standard will help with the efficiencies. We at Petro Canada Lubricants like to look at the powertrain as a whole. Every part of that power train can help with fuel efficiencies. You get the right gear oil, the right transmission oil, the right engine oil, all will help in making the most optimized usage of the system as a whole, and that will become a much more efficient unit that will help with the fuel efficiency in an overall sense.

Jamie Irvine:

Well, we’ve put behind us the days where you could just run one oil. There’s a little bit more complexity to it if people are wanting to learn more, if they want to get some assistance in specking things correctly or are understanding that what’s the best way of interacting with your organization?

Darryl Purificati:

We have a very large field support group that does this type of work, day in and day out. You can contact your local rep that will put you in touch with a technical advisor such as myself or one of my many colleagues within our organization. They’ll help you walk you through not only the correct oil for your engine, but the correct oil for your transmission, the correct oil for your gears, and help set you up on something like a used oil analysis program. If you think of engine as the heart of a unit, then the oil is like the blood, right?

Jamie Irvine:

Right.

Darryl Purificati:

And a used oil analysis program monitors that. It’s kind of preventative medicine. And the more of that type of work we can do, the more we can look at each unit and optimize that unit from not only the performance of the unit, but for extending oil drains and just maintenance and health of the unit. But certainly all of our field tech operatives are very much expertise experts in this type of work.

Jamie Irvine:

Darryl, thank you so much for taking some time. It’s been a busy show and I really appreciate you spending some time with me and educating us about PC 12 and the implications it’s going to have on the trucking industry.

Darryl Purificati:

Thanks Jamie. Appreciate your time as well. Thank you.

Jamie Irvine:

Thank you so much for listening to today’s episode. I hope that we provided you with educational content that you can use to help you better prepare for the changes that are coming, whether you sell parts, whether you’re in service or you own vehicles, all of these regulation changes have an impact on the way that we’re going to do business. And as we move towards this zero emission world where ICE vehicles are slowly but surely eliminated or at least modified heavily, this has a big impact on us and we need to keep talking about it. We need to keep getting this, these subject matter experts to come and provide us with information. So I hope you took value from today’s episode. If you are finding value from listening to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report, make sure you give us a follow. You can do this in three ways.

One, you can head over to heavydutypartsreport.com, hit the follow button. That’s going to sign you up to our weekly email so you never miss out on any content. If you like to listen to the episodes, then you can do so wherever you get your podcasts and follow for free. And if you like to watch the video version, go over to our YouTube channel and hit that subscribe button. Also, our sponsors. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to produce the show, so take some time to click those links and check out our sponsors. Thank you again for listening to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report, and as always, Be Heavy-Duty. Thank you for watching this video. Click here to subscribe to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report YouTube channel, and click here to watch another great episode.

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