DATE: June 5, 2002
BACKGROUND: The Wall Street Journal (1) reported recently that long-haul truck sales have skyrocketed primarily as trucking firms buy new rigs before new anti-pollution rules for diesel engines take effect October 1, 2002. The added cost of the new less polluting engines is estimated to be between $3000 and $5000. In addition, the engines are reported to be less fuel efficient, more costly to maintain and possibly more prone to breakdowns while in use.
TEN SECOND RESPONSE: Here's another example of how over-reaching regulation can backfire and have just the opposite effect it intended.
THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: By trying to impose mandatory changes in diesel engines as of October, EPA pushed the trucking industry to buy trucks before the new rule goes into effect, thus thwarting its intentions. These trucks will stay on the roads for several years before being replaced. Whereas if the market were allowed to work unfettered, consumer demand for cleaner diesel engines would have accomplished the same thing.
DISCUSSION: Manufacturers of the diesel engines have
reportedly told EPA that they may not be able to produce reliable
new engines as required as of October 1, 2002. However, EPA has
not yet granted an extension of the timetable and is recommending
fines of up to $15,000 per engine sold after Oct. 1 that don't
meet the new standard. The new standard set in 1998 would reduce
the nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions from diesel engines by about
one-third by 2008, according to EPA. NOX emissions are thought
to be one of the major contributors to smog.
by Gretchen Randall, Director
John P. McGovern, MD Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs
The National Center for Public Policy Research
Contact the author at: 773-857-5086 or GRandall@nationalcenter.org
The National Center for Public Policy Research, Chicago office
3712 North Broadway - PMB 279
Chicago, IL 60613
1 "Truck Firms Go on Buying Binge to Circumvent a New EPA Rule," Jeffrey Ball, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2002, downloaded from http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB1022539501352661400-search,00.html?collection=wsjie/30day&vql-string=%28truck+firms+go+on+buying+binge%29%3Cin%3E%28article%2Dbody%29, subscription required.