The following editorial appeared in the Charleston (West Virginia) Daily Mail on June 2:
Whether you watch the regulatory actions of the Environmental Protection Agency with support, amusement, disbelief or horror, it’s worth noting what’s coming next.
In this case, it’s the rumble of the tractor trailer that could be the next target of EPA’s chomp-chomp-chomp regulatory battle against global warming.
This week, EPA is likely to propose regulations cutting greenhouse gas emissions from heavy-duty trucks, reported Aaron M. Kessler and Coral Davenport in The New York Times.
It means the government will provide a steeper challenge for tractor-trailer fuel efficiency, seeking to raise the average from the current five to six miles a gallon of diesel up to nine miles a gallon by 2027.
This could be a welcome development for those who’ve gotten stuck behind exhaust-heavy tractor-trailers in traffic, but it’s a worry for America’s transportation industry — including plenty of trucking companies that hit the highway on West Virginia’s strategically-located interstates.
“Talk is cheap, but I don’t see how they get there,” John Yandell Jr., president of Yandell Truckaway in Pleasant Hill, Calif., told the Times.
The Times story calls the trucking industry “the beating heart of the nation’s economy,” noting the food, raw goods and freight crisscrossing America’s highways.
It’s worth watching how much cost of meeting new regulations gets passed on to consumers.
The new rules could add $12,000 to $14,000 to the cost of building each new tractor-trailer. EPA estimates, though, that the cost could be recouped after 18 months through fuel savings.
EPA helpfully suggests that truck operators could benefit from regulation in a way that the market presumably could not point. “Fuel is either at the top or near the top of truck operators’ costs,” Christopher Grundler, director of the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, told the Times.
This next regulatory chapter is in its early stages. Once the proposed regulations are introduced, there’s still a public comment period ahead before EPA comes out with a final version.
There’s always something new up around the bend with EPA. It pays to keep your eyes on the regulatory road.