New Trucking Regulations Seek to Drive Down Emissions and Fuel Consumption

Aug 23, 2016

The Environmental Protection Agency says the changes will cut greenhouse gas emissions by approximately one billion metric tons.

New rules from the federal government will put tighter regulations on the trucking industry. The restrictions are aimed at cutting carbon pollution and bolstering fuel efficiency. 

Beginning in 2018 the new rules will require cleaner, more fuel-efficient engines in new trucks and buses. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the changes will cut greenhouse gas emissions by approximately one billion metric tons, drop fuel consumption for tractor trailers by up to 24 percent, and set a worldwide example for how to combat climate change.

But how will the changes impact Connecticut truckers?

"Most of the tucking companies based here in Connecticut are small businesses," said Joseph Sculley from the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut. Sculley said the trucking industry wants to see emissions go down, but with this, and prior emission mandates from the EPA, the changes are hard to keep up with.

"It's like every few years there's something new," he said. "Just when you think a particular technology that's being used to reduce emissions, and, or, improve fuel efficiency, has been mastered."

Greenhouse gas and fuel standards will be phased over the next decade. And while the EPA said fuel savings from more efficient engines will ultimately balance out any up front costs for newer trucks, Sculley said there are other less obvious costs that small businesses need to consider.

"These new engines and trucks are complex," Sculley said. "I think maintenance will be more frequent than it has been with older trucks -- just to make sure all the newer technology that we have on board is working properly."

The new EPA rule also addresses so-called "glider vehicles." Those are trucks with fresh chassis that get cobbled together with older engines to reduce maintenance time and, sometimes, skirt certain emission requirements.

Under the new rule, the EPA closes that loophole -- and says glider vehicles must meet emission standards for the year they are constructed -- regardless of the age of the donor engine.