1,690-Page ‘Climate Change’ Reg Increases Cost of Tractor-Trailer Up to $15,119

Terence P. Jeffrey | August 22, 2016 | 12:52pm EDT
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EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx approving the new greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency regulation for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, Aug. 16, 2016. (Screen capture)

(CNSNews.com) - The Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration jointly issued a new regulation last week that is meant to help protect the world from "climate change" by limiting “greenhouse gas emissions” and improving fuel efficiency in medium- and heavy-duty vehicles operated in the United States.

The 1,690-page regulation is approximately 700,000 words long.

A “regulatory impact analysis” published by EPA and NHTSA estimates the regulation will add an average of as much as $13,749 to the cost of a tractor truck and $1,370 to a trailer, making some tractor-trailer combinations $15,119 more expensive in 2027 than they would be under current regulations.

While admitting that the regulation will increase the cost of trucks and the other vehicles it effects, the administration argues that the owners of these vehicles will actually save money by using less fuel and that the regulation “will result in up to $230 billion in net benefits to society.”

These “net benefits to society” include what the administration calls “health benefits” and “energy security benefits.”

From Table 5 of the Regulatory Impact Analysis of the new federal regulation on greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, indicating the average vehicle cost increase caused by the regulation. (Screen Capture)

The new regulations cover a range of vehicles running from heavy-duty pickup trucks and passenger vans, through “vocational vehicles” (such as garbage trucks, emergency vehicles and school buses), to large cargo trucks such as tractor-trailers.

In a co-authored blog published on the White House website, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the regulation is part of President Obama’s “Climate Action Plan.”

“In 2013, President Obama announced his Climate Action Plan, a bold plan that is now on track to reduce emissions from nearly every sector of our economy,” said McCarthy and Foxx.

“Today, we are fulfilling one of the central promises in this plan — finalizing the second phase of greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency standards for medium and heavy duty vehicles for model years 2018 and beyond,” they said.

While the EPA administrator and Transportation secretary conceded that the regulation will increase the prices of the regulated vehicles, they argued that it will reduce CO2 emissions and fuel consumption and that truck owners will actually save money in the long run because they will buy less fuel.

“Today’s final standards will promote a new generation of cleaner and more fuel efficient trucks,” McCarthy and Foxx wrote. “That means 1.1 billion fewer tons of CO2 will be emitted into the atmosphere, and operators will save 2 billion barrels of oil and $170 billion in fuel costs.”

“The additional cost of a new truck will be recouped within 2-4 years, saving truck owners more over the long haul,” McCarthy and Foxx said.

A word count (using Microsoft Word) of the first, middle and last ten pages of this 1,690-page regulation indicates that it includes an average of approximately 420 words per page (not including a 43-word disclaimer that is printed in a box at the top of teach page). That makes the entire regulation about 700,000 words long.

The new regulation follows up on Phase 1 regulations on medium- and heavy-duty trucks that the Obama administration released in 2011 and that phased in from model year 2014 to 2018.

The new regulation will phase in through model year 2027.

The EPA published a fact sheet stating that the regulation will not only save money for those required to buy more expensive vehicles but will provide a $230 billion benefit to “society.”

“At every step of the Phase 2 program, the standards have fuel savings that more than offset the costs and have favorable payback periods for truck owners,” says the fact sheet.

“The typical buyer of a new long-haul truck in 2027 could recoup the extra cost of the technology in under two years through fuel savings,” says the fact sheet.

“The program will also benefit con­sumers and businesses by reducing the costs for transporting goods,” says the EPA fact sheet. “In total, the program will result in up to $230 billion in net benefits to society over the lifetime of vehicles sold under the program. This includes fuel savings, carbon reductions, health benefits, energy security benefits, along with travel benefits, and refueling benefits.”

Table 5 in a 1,115-page regulatory impact analysis published by the EPA and NHTSA includes an estimate of the “average incremental cost per vehicle relative to Phase 1 costs in model year 2027.”

This table indicates that the increased cost for tractor trucks runs from $10,235 for a Class 7 low roof day cab to $13,749 for a Class 8 high roof sleeper cab. According to the analysis, the cost of a trailer will increase from $1,204 for a short dry box trailer or short refrigerated box trailer to $1,370 for a long dry box trailer or a long refrigerated box trailer.

 “Yes, these are the projected average vehicle cost increases for vehicles complying with model year 2027 standards for these vehicle types,” NHTSA told CNSNews.com in response to a question about Table 5. “This cost increase is gradual, occurring over the course of the 9-year phase in. Because of the significant improvement in fuel efficiency, the typical buyer of a new long-haul truck in 2027 will recoup the extra cost of the technology in less than two years through fuel savings.”

In comments submitted when the regulation was under consideration, the Owner-Operated Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) argued that truck operators have a built-in incentive to purchase fuel efficient vehicles—and that the market, not a government regulation, should drive the decision.

“The livelihood of an owner-operator, who frequently operates his or her business on small profit margins, depends on affordable and reliable equipment in order to compete and survive in a highly competitive industry,” OOIDA said in its comment. “OOIDA strongly believes that the market should drive fuel efficient technologies instead of expensive mandates.”

“If OEMs [Original Equipment Manufacturers] were able to produce an affordable fuel efficient vehicle, then both owner-operators and fleet owners would readily purchase them in the market,” said OOIDA.

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