WASHINGTON—More than 180 associations—including the International Tire and Rubber Association, the Virginia Tire and Auto Service Association and the American Trucking Associations—are protesting a federal plan to tighten diesel emissions standards.
The Environmental Protection Agency issued proposed standards May 17 to reduce emissions from heavy-duty trucks and buses starting with the 2007 model year. Perhaps the most important provision in the standards is an upper limit of 15 parts per million of sulfur in diesel fuel by June 1, 2006.
These standards also include a limit of particulate matter emissions from heavy-duty diesel engines of 0.01 grams per brake-horsepower-hour, beginning in mid-2007; a nitrogen oxide (NOx) limit of 0.2 g/bhp-hr, phased in between 2007 and 2010; and a non-methane hydrocarbon (NMHC) limit of 0.14 g/bhp-hr phased in between 2007 and 2010.
For heavy-duty vehicles, the schedules for particulate matter, NOx and NMHCs would be the same as for heavy-duty engines.
Upper limits for trucks and buses with a gross vehicle weight rating of 8,500 to 10,000 pounds would be 0.02 grams per mile for particulate matter, 0.2 g/mi for NOx and 0.195 g/mi for NMHCs. For vehicles in the 10,000-14,000 pound class, the limit would be identical for PM, but rise to 0.4 g/mi for NOx and 0.23 g/mi for NMHC.
If fully implemented, the proposed limits will reduce NOx emissions by 2.8 million tons annually, NMHC emissions by 305,000 tons annually and particulate emissions by 110,000 tons annually by 2030, the EPA claims. The agency also says the cost of the regulations will be $1,000 to $1,600 per new vehicle.
In a June 16 letter to members of Congress, the associations criticized the proposed standards as "extreme."
"This proposal goes too far too fast, lacks sufficient technical justification and will likely place the nation's energy supply, transportation and distribution systems at risk," the letter stated.
"We believe these new regulations will likely limit essential fuel supplies to farmers, truckers, bus operators and other users of diesel fuel, and likely significantly increase the cost of new diesel vehicles and other consumer goods," it added. "We believe EPA should not promulgate rules that result in unrealistic standards, excessive costs and great risk of disruption to the supply of goods and services in our country."
Besides ITRA, ATA and the Virginia tire group, the signatories include the trucking and service station associations in many states, as well as the American Petroleum Institute, the American Bus Association, the Agricultural Retailers Association, the Asphalt Institute and associations representing the beer, wine, dairy, soft drink, wheat, produce, poultry and many other industries dependent on trucks.
A summary of the proposed standard is available on the EPA Web site: www.epa.gov. The agency will accept written comments on the rule until mid-August.