Buying a Truck Soon?

On Oct. 1, 2002, the Washington, D.C.-BASED U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will decrease the allowable amount of nitrogen oxide engine emissions from 4 grams per horsepower (hp) hour to 2.5 grams per hp hour. Peterbilt Motors Co., Denton, Texas, decided to conduct an online survey to see what its customers thought about the new rule. Since the survey began on May 30, more than 10,300 people have responded at www.peterbilt.com.

“Because we don't manufacture engines, it's more of an information exercise for us,” says Derek Smith, marketing communications manager. The results are by no means scientific. “Rather, it's an informal look at how visitors to our website view an important industry issue,” he adds.

According to the more than 10,300 respondents:

  • 58 percent (or 5,826 people) said they are considering a new truck or tractor purchase this year, while 42 percent (4,259) said they are not.

  • 76 percent (7,617) said truck brand is more important in their purchasing decisions, while 24 percent (2,462) said engine brand is more important.

  • 31 percent (3,129) said they plan to buy a truck or tractor prior to Oct. 1, while 11 percent (1,140) plan to buy after Oct. 1, and 58 percent (5,809) said the rules will have no effect on the timing of their purchases.

  • 63 percent (6,304) said they will be more likely to buy pre-owned vehicles after Oct. 1 to avoid purchasing a new truck with a 2002 emissions-qualified engine, while 37 percent (3,771) said they would not.

  • 61 percent (6,093) said their pre-owned truck values will increase as a result of the emissions mandate, while 18 percent (1,824) said truck values will decrease, and 21 percent (2,154) said values will not be affected.

  • 54 percent (5,395) said their resale values will increase if their trucks are equipped with emissions-qualified engines, while 24 percent (2,432) said their resale values will decrease, and 22 percent (2,242) said values will not be affected.

  • 30 percent (2,973) said they will purchase emissions-qualified engines without waiting for the engines to be in service, while 9 percent (891) said they would wait one to 6 months, 17 percent (1,753) said they would wait 6 to 12 months, and 44 percent (4,450) said they would wait at least a year.

  • 87 percent (8,706) said an extended engine warranty would increase their confidence in a new 2002 engine, while 13 percent (1,356) said it would not.

  • 62 percent (6,201) said that they would be able to recover increased operating costs by raising their freight rates if the emissions-qualified engines raise their business costs, while 38 percent (3,861) said they would not.

  • 40 percent (4,040) said there should not be a cost increase for the new engines, while 16 percent (1,641) said the highest acceptable increase in cost for the 2002 engines would be between $1 and $500, 21 percent (2,069) said the cost could be between $500 and $1,000, 15 percent (1,538) said the cost could be between $1,000 and $2,499, 5 percent (539) said the cost could be between $2,500 and $4,999, and 2 percent (235) said the cost could be greater than $5,000.



The survey will remain online until Oct. 1 when the rules take effect. To participate, visit Peterbilt's website and click the “2002 Engine Survey” button.