The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) called the administration’s announcement today for greenhouse gas emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks a flawed, one-size-fits-all rule. The new rule ignores input from small-business trucking, overlooks less expensive options to achieve EPA goals of reduced emissions, and will ultimately increase new truck costs.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a first-ever rulemaking for new large tractor-trailer trucks that requires trucks to achieve up to approximately 20 percent reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by model year 2018.
“By totally ignoring the impact on small-business trucking, the EPA has demonstrated yet another example of our wretchedly broken regulatory process,” said Joe Rajkovacz, Director of Regulatory Affairs for OOIDA. “Congress should take action when they return in September to rein in the bureaucracy and push forward regulatory reform legislation that has already been introduced.”
The Association contends the EPA made an irresponsible mistake in its regulatory analysis by excluding the impact on those who actually buy and drive large trucks and by focusing only on truck manufacturers. OOIDA says this approach will only serve to drive up the costs for the small businesses who operate an overwhelming majority of the nation’s trucking businesses. Nearly 96 percent of registered motor carriers in the U.S. operate 20 or fewer trucks.
“They also totally overlooked the most effective fuel-savings method of all,” added Rajkovacz. “Driver training, which is responsible for 35 percent of fuel economy and which costs far less than any new technology, should have been the priority.”
Despite scientific support for the idea of a driver’s role in fuel economy, EPA ignored the findings of the National Academy of Sciences and instead developed a rule that will cause many small businesses to keep and rebuild older equipment. In 2010, the academy found evidence that driver training offers potential fuel savings for the trucking sector that rivals the savings available from technology add-ons and mandates. The Academy called for consideration of this alternative before any regulation was developed.
“But EPA ignored this recommendation,” said Rajkovacz. “The new rule is just another example of big moneyed interests working with government to protect their own bottom line. Instead of standing up for all motor carriers, regardless of size, the American Trucking Associations was out in front in their support of this regulation.”
Rajkovacz added, “This rulemaking basically takes EPA’s SmartWay program and mandates participation – regardless of whether certain technologies are appropriate for a particular operation.”
The Association believes that large motor carriers use SmartWay participation in order to get compensation from shippers for appearing “green.” As a result, this rulemaking does not represent any cost increase to them. All new trucks sold to large fleets were likely already either fully SmartWay-certified or had incorporated most of the certified technologies used under this rule. OOIDA believes that EPA is taking credit to over-sell this rulemaking based on a business activity that is already occurring within large fleets.
“Small-business motor carriers and owner-operators don’t enjoy this same benefit and will be forced to comply on their own dime,” said Rajkovacz.
OOIDA would like congressional appropriators to seriously consider defunding EPA’s SmartWay program because the adoption of this rulemaking makes the program obsolete and a waste of taxpayer money.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 151,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the Greater Kansas City, Mo., area.