November 30, 2017
On November 9, 2017 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is “proposing to undo the regulatory overreach of the prior administration by repealing application of the Medium and Heavy-Duty Truck Phase II Greenhouse Gas Emission and Fuel Efficiency Standards for the glider industry.”
A glider vehicle is a truck assembled from newly manufactured kits that include the vehicle’s frame and cab, but utilizes a previously owned powertrain—including the engine, the transmission, and usually the rear axle. Under the Phase 2 rule, gliders would have to meet the applicable GHG and fuel economy requirements.
In the proposal, the EPA changes its interpretation of the US Clean Air Act (CAA), so the agency would lack the authority to regulate glider vehicles.
Under the proposed interpretation: (1) glider vehicles would not be treated as “new motor vehicles,” (2) glider engines would not be treated as “new motor vehicle engines,” and (3) glider kits would not be treated as “incomplete” new motor vehicles. Based on this proposed interpretation, EPA would lack authority to regulate glider vehicles, glider engines, and glider kits under CAA section 202(a)(1) according to a Diesel Net report.
This proposed interpretation is a significant departure from the position taken by the EPA in the Phase 2 rule, which considers glider vehicles and glider engines to be “new motor vehicle” and “new motor vehicle engines”, respectively. Based on this interpretation, emissions from glider vehicles and their engines must be regulated under the CAA.
In addition, the Phase 2 rule introduced certain requirements for engines used in glider vehicles, intended to reduce PM and NOx emissions from gliders. The EPA regulations before the Phase 2 GHG rule allow used engines to be installed into new glider kits without meeting currently applicable standards.
These Phase 2 requirements for engines installed in new glider vehicles would disallow the use of the pre-2002 (non-EGR) engines that are currently being used in most glider vehicles—because they all would be outside of the 10-year useful life period—and effectively require that all glider engines be equipped with diesel particulate filters (DPF) which have been used on all heavy-duty engines since model year 2007.
Under EPA’s proposed amendments, gliders would be allowed to continue to use engines without emission controls (non-DPF, non-EGR, non-SCR engines), leading to a disproportionate contribution to emissions from heavy-duty trucks. According to an EPA estimate in its Phase 2 rulemaking, glider trucks would comprise only 5% of the freight trucks on the road in 2025 but—if their engines remain uncontrolled—they would account for one third of all NOx and PM emissions from the heavy truck fleet.
The American Trucking Associations said the proposed repeal would be a mistake from an environmental perspective, and cited the success of its members in adopting the latest emissions-reduction technology. The proposal has been also criticized by environmental groups.
The public comment period for the proposal will be open through January 5, 2018.
What this means to you
Under EPA’s proposed amendments, glider trucks would be allowed to continue to use engines without emission controls (non-DPF, non-EGR, non-SCR engines), leading to a disproportionate contribution to emissions from heavy-duty trucks.
MIRATECH can help
Contact MIRATECH to learn more about diesel engine emissions solutions.