Thursday, December 17, 2009

Impact of EPA Findings Unclear for Trucking

The EPA has officially announced that Green House Gases (GHG) are a threat to the public health and welfare of the American people. So what does that mean to the thousands of trucks that deliver almost all the items produced throughout the world and delivered to our doorsteps???

This recent article below by Fleet Owner gives us an idea of what we can expect. Of course every time there is an emissions limitation, it normally means that the price of equipment is going to go up not only for trucks, but also the manufacturers who emit GHG.



Though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has officially designated greenhouse gases (GHGs) a threat to the public health and welfare of the American people, and that GHG emissions from on-road vehicles contributes to that threat, the ultimate impact this will have on the trucking industry is unknown at this point.

“The release of the endangerment finding is seen as an effort to focus more attention on pending federal climate change legislation – but it does not include any proposed regulations,” noted Glen Kedzie, an American Trucking Assns. (ATA) vp, told FleetOwner. “[But] it’s unclear at this time how the EPA’s endangerment finding will affect the trucking industry.” (Read more news about the ATA)

In a speech yesterday, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said her agency’s endangerment final finding is a response to a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision that said GHGs fit within the Clean Air Act definition of air pollutants and covers six key gases – carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.

“This endangerment finding provides the legal foundation for finalizing the recently proposed clean cars program, [which] contains the nation’s first ever limits on greenhouse gas emissions from American vehicles,” Jackson said. “And starting next spring, large emitting facilities will be required to incorporate the best available methods for controlling greenhouse gas emissions when they plan to construct or expand.”

Jackson stressed that, though the EPA’s findings do not in and of themselves impose any emission reduction requirements, they allow the agency to finalize the first-ever federal GHG tailpipe standards for new light-duty vehicles. Those were proposed on Sept. 15 as part of the joint rulemaking with the Department of Transportation (DOT). Those rules are expected to be finalized by March 2010.

“These are reasonable, common-sense steps that will allow us to do what the Clean Air Act does best: reduce emissions for better health, drive technology innovation for a better economy, and protect the environment for a better future,” Jackson said.

“On-road vehicles contribute more than 23% of total U.S. GHG emissions,” she added. “EPA’s proposed GHG standards for light-duty vehicles, a subset of on-road vehicles, would reduce GHG emissions by nearly 950 million metric tons and conserve 1.8-billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of model year 2012-2016 vehicles.“

Trucking is in indeed the EPA’s sights when it comes to controlling GHGs. ATA’s Kedzie noted that the agency is currently developing carbon metrics for trucking carbon outputs and that both the House and Senate climate change bills contain provisions for the agency to take the lead in establishing regulations to limit GHGs from medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

Yet the agency’s recent Final GHG Inventory Rule does not include reporting requirements for trucking fleets. That means the ultimate impact of EPA’s GHG reduction efforts on trucking operations remains to be seen. “There are no specifics known at this time as to what the finding may mean for the trucking industry,” Kedzie stressed.
For the complete article from Fleet Owner, click here.
For a short video on the impact that legislation would have on the trucking industry - watch the video below. Important to understand if you are involved with your company's transportation - increased costs to trucking companies are eventually going to have to be passed on to the shipper. Note the "opinion" of the person who put this video together (at the end of the video).


Monday, December 7, 2009

Why Truck Capacity Will Get Worse in 2010

Below is an article from FTR Associates. FTR is a transportation industry analysis company that keeps a tab on the health of the transportation industry - especially trucking and rail.

It appears that they are anticipating higher freight volume in 2010, but capacity of new trucks will lag behind the uptick in freight for next year.

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NASHVILLE, Ind. -- FTR Associates increased its 2009 Class 8 forecast due to a surge in orders in October, but heavy truck demand for 2010 is likely to slow after EPA 2007 engine inventory is exhausted.

According to the latest issue the North American Commercial Truck and Trailer Outlook published by FTR, orders are likely to reduce early 2010 freight-induced demand, as the order activity in October was driven by truck operators lining up for the last of pre-2010 emissions engines.

Says FTR President Eric Starks: "2009 will end with modest freight growth, and we expect 2010 growth to be in the 2.8 percent range.

"However, given the huge decline in freight over the last few years, the increase in freight in 2010 will not be enough to entice fleets in large numbers to buy new, more expensive technology when such equipment is first made available."

Many carriers, he adds, have usable miles on older equipment to get them through the initial up-tick in freight demand "without taking the risk of adding unfamiliar engine technology to their fleet."The full North American Commercial Truck and Trailer Outlook Report is available to FTR subscribers.

For more information, please contact Eric Starks at 888-988-1699 ext. 45 or make an inquiry to hlile@ftrassociates.com.

For a link to this article, click here