Manufacturers Reply to Stringent Rules with Technology, as Truck Sales Rise



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 Updated:
12/29/2010 11:30:00 AM

By Dan Leone, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the Dec. 20 27 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

As the most stringent emission rules yet took effect in 2010, manufacturers brought their latest emissions technology to U.S. buyers against a backdrop of recovering truck sales and continuing contention about which type of pollution control best serves the industry.

Truck sales this year started to rebound from the abysmal levels of 2009 — the worst year for sales since 1983 — as buyers began modernizing a U.S. truck fleet that, by some estimates, had reached an average of almost seven years.

Class-8 truck sales for the first 11 months of the year were 95,410 units, up 14.6% compared with 2009. In addition, November truck orders soared to 26,005 units, the highest level in more than four years (12-13, p. 1).

While the outlook was brightening, heated disputes continued this year between Navistar Inc. and the other major truck and engine manufacturers.

Tensions centered, as they did in 2009, on the technology used to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2010 emission standard, which reduced allowable levels of nitrogen oxides in diesel exhaust to 0.2 grams per brake-horsepower hour.

Navistar is the only maker not using selective catalytic reduction. Instead, the company is using a new generation of exhaust gas recirculation, an in-cylinder system.

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During the first half of 2010, Navistar reached settlements with the EPA and California Air Resources Board on lawsuits filed by the manufacturer in 2009. Navistar won concessions from EPA and CARB to revise their certification processes, which is still pending.

In its suits, Navistar contended that EPA and CARB were illegally allowing SCR-equipped engines to run, for extended periods of time, while emitting NOx in levels prohibited by the 2010 federal rule. In the lawsuit, Navistar said that a SCR guidance document carried the force of a rulemaking — but that the agency had initiated no rulemaking process before issuing the guidance.

SCR engine makers rushed to the defense of their products, pointing out that Navistar’s technology relied on emission credits to comply with the 2010 standard. Some SCR engine makers are also utilizing credits.




© 2010, Transport Topics Publishing Group. All rights reserved.

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