EPA Seen Backing Engine Makers in Truck Emission Rules

(Corrects spelling of Volvo executive’s name in the sixth

paragraph of story published June 11.)

(Bloomberg) — The Obama administration is poised to

deliver a victory to engine makers at the expense of truck

manufacturers in the next stage of the U.S. government’s plan to

tackle climate change.

The Environmental Protection Agency is about to propose

fuel economy standards that would mandate efficiency gains in

engines and transmissions made by companies like Cummins Inc.

and Eaton Corp., according to executives who have been in

discussions with the regulator.

That will encourage the development of new technology, and

the replacement of engines.

“It’s a huge deal,” said Mihai Dorobantu, Eaton’s

director of technology planning and government affairs. “It’s

an opportunity for advanced technology to contribute both to the

economics of the sector and the environment in which we all

live.”

Truckmakers had pushed for eliminating the engine target

and just testing the whole vehicle the way automobiles are

assessed. That way, fuel consumption targets could be met with

less expensive changes, such as improved aerodynamics.

“An overly stringent engine standard could force the

introduction of technologies and design changes prematurely,

resulting in added costs, weight, vehicle complexity and,

ultimately, potentially delaying customer adoption,” said Steve

Berry, director of regulatory affairs for Volvo AB’s North

American businesses.

Industry Talks

Environmental groups are pushing President Barack Obama to

deliver fuel-economy improvements of 40 percent from 2010

levels, something they say is both technologically feasible and

long overdue because tractor-trailers average 6 miles per gallon

of diesel. That change alone could cut U.S. oil use by 1.4

million barrels a day and eliminate more than twice the

greenhouse gases as New Jersey emits each year, according to the

Sierra Club.

An EPA spokeswoman, Liz Purchia, declined to comment on the

agency’s plans ahead of the release of the trucking proposal,

which industry representatives said they expect this month. The

Obama administration will then accept public comment before

issuing a final regulation next year.

One of the key decisions for the EPA and the National

Highway Traffic Safety Administration is how to measure gains

from the engine and the overall vehicle. Under the proposal

nearing release, engines will be tested the same way emissions

are measured. Vehicles will be measured by using a computer

model instead of the dynamometers used to test cars.

That approach is also supported by Cummins, said Brian

Mormino, the company’s executive director for worldwide

environmental strategy and compliance.

The EPA will also be proposing a third set of standards for

trailers, whose boxy design has been largely unchanged for

decades.

Trucking Economy

Trucks account for 4 percent of vehicles on the road and 20

percent of the transport sector’s carbon emissions. Setting

tougher rules is necessary if the U.S. will achieve the cuts in

carbon emissions Obama pledged in United Nations climate

negotiations, the World Resources Institute said in a report

last month.

“This is a very significant segment of our economy that

needs to come under the climate plan the president is putting

together,” said Margo Oge, former director of the EPA’s office

of transportation and air quality. “It’s a big deal to have a

standard that pushes innovation and reins in fuel consumption.”

Daimler Trucks North America LLC has warned regulators

against engine standards that aren’t aligned with real-world

operations, Sean Waters, director of product compliance and

regulatory affairs, said in a statement.

The company, which makes Freightliner trucks, is still

“optimistic the final rule will be consistent with our goals of

providing real-world fuel economy benefits that reduce the real

cost of ownership for our customers,” Waters said.

Waste Management

The rules will represent the second time in history that

U.S. regulators will propose efficiency standards for the more

than 7 million tractor trailers and other kinds of heavy-duty

trucks that haul most of the nation’s goods.

Waste Management Inc., which has a fleet of 18,500 garbage

and collection vehicles, is part of a group of companies helping

the EPA develop the standards. Most of the new trucks the

company is buying run on natural gas, which cuts greenhouse-gas

emissions by 20 percent over diesel, said Kerry Kelly, senior

director for federal affairs.

“It’s been a good process so far, and so we feel that

we’ll get to a reasonable rule we can support,” Kelly said.

To contact the reporters on this story:

Jeff Plungis in Washington at

jplungis@bloomberg.net;

Mark Drajem in Washington at

mdrajem@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:

Jon Morgan at

jmorgan97@bloomberg.net

Romaine Bostick

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