The trucking industry is awaiting new EPA regulations from the Obama administration that could dramatically change the way that they do business.
The new regulations would attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by requiring that trucks up their average fuel economy from 4 to 5 MPG to up to 9 MPG. This would increase fuel economy by 40% by 2027, saving millions of barrels of oil.
While this might be good news for the environment, the trucking industry will be asked to shoulder the financial burden. New changes are expected to increase the cost of a new truck by $12,000 to $14,000, but the EPA estimates that this cost will be recovered in fuel savings in about 18 months. The regulations would also require tweaks to engines, improving aerodynamics, and using lighter truck materials. More dramatic changes that are being considered could include using engine heat to drive a secondary turbine or switching to a different fuel source.
Another big change? The EPA will start regulating trailers as well, expanding their focus from vehicles with engines.
Trucking industry insiders are expressing serious concern about the new regulations. Volvo’s Tony Greszler said, “We told them what we can do, but they haven’t told us what they plan to do. We have concerns with how this will play out.” Smaller trucking companies are worried that the new regulations could drive them out of business.
The New York Times reported that the changes could come within the week, but industry experts believe it will take a bit longer.