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Trucking Interests Urge Cautious Approach with Latest NOx Proposal

Transportation groups expressed general support for the goal of reducing nitrogen oxides emissions in comments filed with federal regulators regarding a proposal to set stricter NOx limits for trucks, but cautioned against an overly aggressive approach that could be harmful to motor carriers’ operations and ability to serve the public, reports Transport Topics.

American Trucking Associations in a 29-page written comment on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposal said it is generally supportive of the goal to reduce NOx, but stressed that the message from its fleet members is clear:

“Minimize purchase, maintenance, warranty and operational costs; maximize performance, durability and driver satisfaction; maintain fleet flexibility in technology and fuel choices; do not reopen the final Phase 2 rule; and do not create unintended consequences such as equipment pre-buys/low-buys or no-buys, alteration of fleet turnover cycles, and fuel economy degradation,” it wrote.

The proposal offered two options to reduce NOx. Option 1 is basically 0.035 gram per brake horsepower-hour for model-year 2027-30 trucks, and then stepping down to 0.02 gram per brake horsepower-hour for 2031-plus. Option 2 is 0.05 gram per brake horsepower-hour for MY27-plus. It also raised the possibility that the Phase 2 Large Truck Greenhouse Gas Emissions rule may need to be modified, an idea that has been panned by many in the industry.

In its comments, ATA said its areas of support for the proposal range include reduction of NOx emissions and recognition that NOx reductions should align with both EPA’s Phase 2 and Phase 3 greenhouse rules. It also seeks EPA acknowledgment that cleaner diesel trucks will remain integral for the foreseeable near-term future, along with flexibility for manufacturers with technology platform pathways. The public comment period on the rule closed May 16, after EPA granted an extension.

ATA staunchly opposes one approach suggested in the proposal.

“Option 1 is the California Air Resources Board standard and ATA does not support California’s extreme and unattainable approach as the next national standard for diesel freight trucks for the rest of the country,” the group wrote.

The Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association said it generally supported the proposed rule, but had an array of detailed critical and cautionary comments in its 173-page comment document. That included criticism of Option 1.

“The stakes of this rulemaking are very high,” it said. “Indeed, if EPA were to finalize its proposed Option 1, that would, as a practical matter, preclude the production and sale of heavy-duty diesel engines starting in 2027. OEMs cannot and so will not be able to build Option 1-compliant products. Such an unacceptable outcome from this rulemaking must be avoided.”

Full TT story here.

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