New York -- According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, the long-haul trucking industry is seeing an explosion of orders because fleets are rushing to beat a new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that would require new long-haul truck engines to meet lower limits on nitrogen oxide emissions.
Some fleets say they are accelerating their truck purchases now to avoid buying the new, less-polluting engines after the rules go into effect. The trucking industry fears that the newer technology will add about $3,000 to $5,000 to the cost of an engine, which typically is $15,000. The industry also expects the newer engines to be less fuel efficient, costlier to maintain and possibly more prone to breakdowns.
Meantime, the EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) have begun an inquiry into whether the nation's seven major truck-engine makers, including Columbus, Ind.-based Cummins Inc. and Peoria, Ill.-based Caterpillar Inc., may be improperly encouraging sales of their existing engines to circumvent the environmental rule. The companies deny they are violating a 1998 settlement with the goverment in which they agreed not to initiate marketing campaigns, give discounts or conduct other activities that would encourage buying pollution-emitting engines.