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Greenhouse Gas limits would apply to 2021-27 trucks. Trailers also affected.

Regulators in the U.S. have unveiled their latest plans to slash Greenhouse Gas emissions, targeting 2021-27 Model Year trucks. And, for the first time, trailers are targeted with emission standards of their own.

The proposals were unveiled earlier today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its partners at the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The U.S. EPA would begin applying trailer standards as early as the 2018 Model Year, although the standards are voluntary until NHTSA applies its version of the rules in 2021. Gains are to be made using everything from aerodynamic devices to lightweight components and self-inflating tires.

The standards for tractors and engines are proposed to start in 2021, increase in 2024, and be fully in place by 2027. They would reduce emissions by 24% when compared to a 2018 tractor. In the U.S. this would translate into $170 billion in fuel savings and 1 billion metric tons in reduced CO2 emissions during the lifetime of the vehicles. This would save more oil (1.8 billion barrels) than the U.S. currently imports from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in a year.

At this point it's all projected to add $10,000 to $12,000 to the cost of a tractor-trailer, with fuel savings offsetting the additional equipment costs within two years.

Canada has traditionally adopted U.S. emission standards, which have previously targeted smog-producing NOx and Particulate Matter. Those gave birth to equipment such as Exhaust Gas Recirculation systems and Diesel Particulate Filters.

The latest "Phase 2" rule includes separate engine standards to ensure that technology continues to advance as well.

"Canadian regulators need to carefully consider every line of the proposal before adopting such rule changes," cautioned Mike Millian, president of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada. "Equipment changes on this side of the border could be limited by existing weight and dimension regulations, which differ from those in the U.S. Past experience has also shown us that promised fuel savings don't always come to fruition in the field. Emission-related equipment changes have also led to increased downtime and new maintenance challenges. We need to be sure that promised fuel savings are not simply replaced by higher maintenance costs."

"Once upon a time, to be pro-environment you had to be anti-big-vehicles. This rule will change that," U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says. "These efficiency standards are good for the environment and the economy. When we use less fuel, shipping costs go down. it's good news all around, especially for anyone with an online shopping habit." The assumption on the latter comment, of course, is that such purchases require trucks for home deliveries, rather than the family minivan. These rules cover semi-trucks, large pickup trucks and vans, buses and work trucks.

Manufacturers will also be able to bank and trade emission credits, allowing for options like high-horsepower, long-nose conventional trucks that would not otherwise meet the limits.

A public comment period will be open for 60 days, while feedback will also be collected through two public hearings.

More information is available at www.epa.gov/otaq/climate/regs-heavy-duty.htm and www.nhtsa.gov/fuel-economy.

 

Current News

Confused? I’m Not Surprised

By Michael Ahart, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Omnitracs

The Canadian ELD Mandate goes into effect June 12, 2021. What does that really mean?

All federally regulated motor carriers in Canada must equip commercial motor vehicles with a third party certified ELD device by June 12, 2021… or do they? Law enforcement will begin enforcing the mandate and issuing ELD related citations beginning June 12, 2021...
or will they?

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the Canadian ELD Mandate so I join you in trying to understand what’s myth, what’s reality, and what will happen when. Here is where we are.

As indicated by the Minister of Transportation, the Mandate will go into effect June 12, 2021. However, on March 2, 2021, he stated that the government will begin a phased enforcement rollout after June 12 that focuses on ELD education and awareness at first. Does this mean that drivers can continue to use paper logs? How long will this period of education and awareness last? Why have they decided to take this approach?

I’ve heard the terms ‘deferred enforcement,’ ‘progressive enforcement,’ and ‘graduated enforcement’ used in various industry-related circles to describe expectations; however, as of this writing, no related enforcement program has been shared – although we can expect that the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators will provide a proposal within the next few weeks. There is no doubt we will be knocking up against the deadline before we have clarification.

I know there is a limited number of motor carriers happy to see a delayed enforcement program, as they’d rather continue using paper logs. Many others are unhappy as they have already made the investment in electronic logging devices and are simply waiting on an over-the-air update with the third- party certified ELD software.

The lack of clarity on the topic has a significant impact on those who are concerned if their financial investment has/will result(ed) in the acquisition of an ELD that will receive third-party certification. There are currently no certified ELD devices listed on the Transport Canada website, although many devices have been submitted for certification. With multiple ELD providers submitting multiple ELD devices to the one accredited certifying body, motor carriers must obtain assurance from their ELD provider that it is actively participating in the third-party certification process developed by Transport Canada. At a cost of nearly $50,000 USD per ELD submitted to obtain certification, the financial investment made by the ELD provider is a significant commitment and will be undertaken by a limited number of ELD providers.

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