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If there is anything more convoluted or fraught with potentially expensive missteps facing a fleet manager today, it’s got to be complying with emission regulations – both at the state and federal level, I might add. A week or so ago, Ken Gillies – truck engineering manager at GE Capital Fleet Services – painstakingly put together detailed answers to a bunch of questions I had about how CARB’s rules impact truck spec’ing decisions; in no small part because California’s rules go above and beyond federal emission rules in many cases, posing some costly dilemmas for fleets not only based in the Golden State but for those hauling freight in and out of there as well.
The resulting story I wrote, though, had to be brief out of necessity [there isn’t THAT much space on our web site, you know!], but its brevity left a lot of unanswered questions in the minds of some readers.
First I’d like to clarify the information I’m providing is focused on medium and heavy-duty trucks – Classes 4 through 8.
It’s possible some fleets may pursue the California and non-California configuration solution.
There are certainly up-front cost implications for the 2010 emissions-equipped truck chassis (applies to both straight trucks as well as tractors).
Additional up-front costs that are a bit less obvious include possible increases in wheelbase and cab-to-axle (CA) dimensions in certain configurations to allow room for the diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) tank and the dosing system. Recent truck spec’ing activities with our customers who utilize Class 3 thru 5 trucks (10,001 lbs. Trucks built after January 1, 2010 are required to comply with the federal EPA Diesel Emission standards for 2010 (applies to diesel powered trucks from 8,600 lbs.
It’s important to know the federal EPA 2010 emission regulation focuses on tailpipe emissions of particulate matter (PM) and other gases such as oxides of nitrogen (NOx).
The California regulation applies to trucks that travel in California regardless if they are registered inside or outside of California and includes all carriers that transport perishable goods using diesel-powered refrigeration systems on trucks, trailers, shipping containers and railcars operating in California.
Fleet managers should clearly understand these regulations since a truck that complies with federal EPA 2010 standard could fall outside one or more of the California-specific regulations.
Q: How are CARB's separate and more stringent rules affecting the spec'ing plans for national fleets?
At GE Fleet, we’ve spent significantly more time working with our customers and OEMs regarding CARB rules and spec’ing trucks to help customers make well-informed decisions. Specification changes with wheelbase and California exhaust system routing, air tank positioning, driveline configurations, fuel tank size and placement are some of the first areas affected. We continually suggest options for customers to consider regarding driver comfort when drivers must use the sleeper berth without running the truck engine. The final step in our spec’ing process is a detailed review with the customer to be sure they are comfortable with the spec they’ve chosen. A GE customer in the home heating oil delivery business has been working on plans with one of our senior engineers for over a year developing solutions to their truck needs when only 2010 Federal EPA emission engines are available. Customers with trucks in virtually every class and application have been continually increasing their level of involvement and collaboration with our engineers since the beginning of the year. We’ve found the most efficient and effective approach is a careful balance between educating while simultaneously applying that education to the actual spec development process. In spite of the initial GHG Emission Reduction requirements taking effect January 1, 2010, the level of awareness we’ve seen is relatively low.
For fleets that already spec engines that meet the “Idle Time Limit” regulations, there’s little effect.
A fleet manager recently commented that he runs his tractors (for local and regional delivery) up to 20 years or more and this regulation does in fact “force” him to alter his company’s replacement cycle.
Most fleets use replacement cycles that are shorter than the CARB requirements for retrofitting older diesels.
One market segment in California that will feel a significant squeeze is the agricultural businesses operating “cab-over-engine” (COE) tractors to enable use of 57-foot trailers. Q: Of all the regulations CARB is putting out there – including the 2010 Diesel Exhaust Emission program, Heavy Duty Vehicle Idling Emission Reduction Program, Heavy Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Reduction Measure, and Truck and Bus Regulation Reducing Emissions from Existing Diesel Vehicles measure – which ones will be the most expensive for fleet compliance? The GHG (Smartway) program and the Truck and Bus Regulation (retrofits) will likely be the most expensive for a fleet to meet the regulations.
This question is really more about the strategies a fleet operation must employ to meet regulations in effect at acquisition time, as well as applying diligent forethought to ensure the spec meets future regulations.
With 18 other states strongly considering similar CARB regulations, it is important to create specs that align with CARB regulations to fullest extent possible even if the fleet doesn’t operate in California. Once again, our expertise is applied to aid the customer’s understanding and enable them to make well-informed decisions. The GHG Reduction regulation coupled with the Emission Reduction [rule for] existing diesel engines creates a formidable challenge.
The "Emission Reduction" regulation requires looking at the age of trucks currently in operation and their proposed replacement timing. Trucks at Work: Sean Kilcarr comments on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry.
I bring the great President Harry Truman into this post over polling results about heavier trucks for a reason – simply put, you cannot fully trust polls. The recent poll conducted by the Coalition for Transportation Productivity (CTP) offers a prime example. It’s also true that, upon reading how the questions within this poll were structured, the poll itself might have skewed a good portion of people’s responses. All that being said, though, it is important get a glimpse of the American’s public thinking on this issue of heavier trucks. The survey itself canvassed 1,000 American adults by leading pollster Wilson Research Strategies (WRS) June 16–22 this year via live operator telephone calls and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.1%.
Again, this particular bill would allow for heavier – but not larger – trucks on interstates by giving each state the option to increase its interstate vehicle weight limit to 97,000 pounds for trucks equipped with a sixth axle for safety, stresses CTP Co-Chair John Runyan, (at right) who is also the senior manager of federal government relations for International Paper. Without changing truck size, the additional axle maintains current braking capacity and weight-per-tire-distribution and minimizes pavement wear, he says, while a user fee imposed by the bill would help fund vital bridge repair should there be any damage incurred from the increase weight limits.
Yet those firmly opposed to raising weight limits won’t be furling their sails anytime soon.


SHIPA seeks to freeze current truck size and weight limits for all states to those rules on the books as of June 1, 2008 – limiting truck trailer size to 53-ft long and weight limits to 80,000 lbs., unless a state allowed longer and heavier trucks to operate on its roads as of that date. One thing is for certain – the debate over increasing weight limits for heavier trucks isn’t going away anytime soon. Valuable offers on accessories and upfit packages when you purchase or lease a new eligible vehicle.
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Bernt Rosine Schlickum: Just glad I now know what to give you as a little Christmas present, USD 67million, peanuts.
Dalton Lavis: Table tennis is definitely an satisfying sport for players of all ages and ability ranges. We have been eyeballing the Old Time Truck Show as it’s grown into a serious regional history event and gathering of the clans who love trucking history. I’ve never been a trucker and never spent much time around them but I was always fascinated by them.
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The Western Star dealer network is vast and growing, with coverage in Australia, New Zealand and SE Asia. One of the big challenges in the emissions arena is dealing with myriad rules promulgated by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) that are affecting commercial trucks in various ways.
Note, however, that he told me his answers are for general informational purposes only and fleets should not make decisions based just on this data alone.
In essence, do you think all of these rules will basically force the creation of TWO types of commercial trucks – ones that can operate in 49 states and ones that can operate in California? Additionally, it’s important to understand that a number of the California-specific regulations mandated by CARB are narrowly focused on Class 8; sleeper-berth tractors pulling 53-foot (or longer) dry or refrigerated van trailers. However, the logistics of ensuring a non-California configuration truck doesn’t end up in California could be difficult to monitor. Depending on the chassis manufacturer as well as the engine manufacturer, cost increases are ranging from about $6,000 on a medium-duty truck (Class 6 or 7) to about $9,000 for a heavy-duty class 8 tractor. The need to re-mount the DEF tank to accommodate certain upfitting specs could affect installation time and costs. California-specific regulations that apply to Heavy Duty Vehicle Idling Emission Reductions, GHG Emissions Reduction Measure, TRU ATCM (Truck Refrigeration Unit Airborne Toxic Control Measure) also apply to diesel-fueled TRUs and TRU generator sets operating in California. Emissions reduction from certain existing trucks and buses (diesel vehicles greater than 14,000 lbs.
California regulations have varying time schedules for implementation and in the case of the CARB’s “Reduction of Emissions from Existing Diesel Engines,” the compliance schedule extends beyond 2020.
Available space on the frame for mounting equipment also changes when considering auxiliary power units (APU’s) in tractor configurations.
Most OEMs have developed proprietary systems to heat and cool the sleeper without the need for an APU.
Immediate application of our knowledge gained has proven valuable because we’ve been able to continually improve efficiency, thereby benefitting customers with faster answers and more lead-time for their decisions. Similar to our SmartWay spec practice discussed previously, we also point out these regulations and various implementation levels in a majority of the states – even at the metro area level where different versions of regulations may exist.
In some cases, financing assistance to perform the retrofitting may be difficult to obtain. He feels the cost burden will make it very difficult to maintain the same levels of service and the cost of the products his company carries will be negatively impacted. The impact of this regulation will be felt more by private individuals and small fleets that keep their vehicles longer.
The compliance schedule for these trucks will depend on the model year of the truck’s engine. The truck engineering challenge is to help customers be well-informed and able to understand how the sliding scale of requirements impacts the spec and vehicle lifecycle.


Costs of either retrofitting or in some cases having to prematurely cycle a truck out of the fleet may drastically alter the lifecycle cost as projected at acquisition time. The GHG regulation impacts spec development to ensure the truck meets applicable regulations at the time the truck goes into service. I believe this effort may be the most challenging because it combines the past, present and future with the constantly changing regulations and target dates. Like President Truman said, polls can often muddy the waters significantly and even throw you off the correct path in life if you put too much faith in them. Obviously, for a coalition of more than 100 shippers and allied associations dedicated to increasing the federal weight limit for commercial trucks on interstate highways, poll numbers that show heavy favoritism of their position on this issue are going to get hawked about quite a bit. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Americans would favor increasing the weight limit by a margin of 51% to 39% IF … and there is that all-important “if,” which is the middle word in “life” … IF higher weight limits contribute to safer roads, greater fuel economy and more productive highway transportation. Obviously, they clearly favor it if [there’s that word again, always making things more complex!] there big benefits to be gained. WRS noted its poll sample was stratified to be demographically and geographically representative of the national adult population. And these results are going to become part of the debate by CTP and other heavier truck advocates as they try to get the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act of 2009 (H.R. Also under the McGovern bill, any group of two or more consecutive axles would stay consistent with the weights enacted under the Federal Aid Highway Amendments of 1974.
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This year’s edition is July 27 and 28 at its home, the Roberts Centre in Wilmington, Ohio, off Exit 50 on Interstate 71, about halfway between Columbus and Cincinnati. I remmber a lot of these oldies as I was a young teen and my dad and trucked all over in 1950 White with a Cummings and sleeper cab and hauled out of N.O. When considering that potential daily fines for a non-California-configured vehicle could be thousands of dollars, the incentive to develop a two-spec operation may drop considerably. As a result, outsourcing those trips to another carrier, or renting a 2010 emissions-equipped truck could be considered.
Comments from the truck OEM community around cost increases are typically emphasizing fuel economy improvements gained from the 2010 emissions-equipped truck versus the 2007 emissions-equipped version as a way to mitigate some of the cost impact. In addition, some reduction in payload will need to be addressed because the dosing system and tank with fluid will add about 175 pounds in Class 3 and 4 trucks to 350 to 400 pounds in the highway tractor configuration.
GVWR and certain yard trucks, shuttle vehicles and out-of-state trucks and buses operated in California) are not considered in this regulation.
Cost is a continual factor, and our engineering team provides our customers with cost analysis for available options. It also helps customers with additional time to interact with their companies’ operations and build higher acceptance of the changes that are coming. In an effort to better prepare our customers for this particular regulation, our engineering team has been offering specs that include the EPA-compliant SmartWay specs for both tractors and trailers since early this year.
He expressed frustration in the state of California’s (apparent) lack of consideration for the financial impact this will have on his business and other businesses in similar operating conditions. Since there’s little option to replace these COE trucks with new ones because they are no longer available, retrofitting or discontinuing use of the 57-foot trailer becomes the only option. Additional challenges reside in maintaining that match-up as various future dates arrive with additional regulation requirements. It’s the standard, and appropriate, American response: if change is going to bring us more benefits with lower costs, let’s go for it. 1618, entitled the Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act or simply the “SHIPA” bill – introduced March 19 by Rep.
And all the pulling power, safety, and alternative fuels that are essential to keep your workload covered and your bottom line in check. These operators of service body-equipped trucks frequently have limited access to scale the truck and, as a result, they run an increased risk of unknowingly exceeding the GVWR. The SmartWay spec is also being offered to customers who are not based in California in an effort to assist them in their efforts to reduce GHG emissions as well as reduce fuel costs. CARB is offering some financial assistance programs to help offset the cost of these retrofits.
Please consult your device manufacturer for information regarding the WPA2 security protocol and Wi-Fi device compatibility. Documentation to apply for financial assistance is extensive; however, the money available to a fleet that invests in this effort can be a major benefit.



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