How Fleet Owners / Trucking Companies Got Stuck Paying for a Cleaner Environment
In 2011 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) introduced The Heavy-Duty National Program, which was designed to create a national standard to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) and improve the fuel efficiency of heavy-duty trucks and buses. The overall goal of the program was to reduce oil consumption (and dependence on foreign oil) and to address global climate change. The program called for new federal vehicle emission regulations which would impact every entity downstream from the mandate.
In addition to the environmental benefits of the regulation, the HD Program offered financial benefits to fleets and owner/operators alike. The underlying thought was that although fleet owners would incur an expense upfront as they transitioned over to emission compliant engines, within 1 – 2 years that investment would be returned. In addition, fleet owners stood to gain financially from the advancement in commercial engine technology and the efficiencies they offered.
While most people in the industry agree and respect the goal of the HD Program along with the processes put in place to reduce fuel and carbon emission, six years later the mandate has had a substantial financial impact on trucking companies, costing fleet owners and operators a lot of money in unanticipated maintenance, repairs, and downtime. It appears the focus had been on ensuring that fuel economy and emission standards were met, and not on how, and in some cases if, the fleet owners and technicians can/will maintain the technology to meet these standards or the financial impact they’d incur in doing so.
Reducing diesel emissions is important, however, the reality for many trucking companies and fleet owners today, is that emission control features on engines have caused a series of new issues. Endless repairs to the emission control technology have caused maintenance costs to soar through the roof which in return causes unscheduled downtime for fleets, affecting productivity, deliveries, and sales. Couple those expenses with other issues facing trucking companies: i.e., lack of drivers, increased wages, etc. and it’s easy to see how the HD Program has contributed to many trucking companies folding-up-shop and calling it a day.
Now, with the recent recall by Cummins of over 500,000 heavy-duty diesel engines with emission system problems, fleet owners and trucking companies are still paying the bill. Sure, Cummins is footing-the-bill for the latest emission system repairs, but who is reimbursing fleet owners for downtime and the negative financial impact on their business?
Cummins’ recall came as no surprise to us. We saw this problem coming years ago, that’s why we created our Diesel I.O. Intelligent Optimization solution. Our Cummins Certified Technicians have helped fleet owners across North America prevent emission system issues without taking their fleets off the road or voiding warranties. Fleet owners should add up the costs of what they’re losing when their trucks are in the shop for emission-related problems and send the bill to the manufacturers or the EPA for reimbursement.
Better yet, they can give us a call (866-811-0110), and we’ll show them how to avoid emission system problems altogether.