With the Environmental Protection Agency’s introduction of groundbreaking new greenhouse gas emission standards this summer, it’s easy to see why some trucking business owners might view the agency as a villain. Whether these and other EPA standards will have a negative impact on the industry remains to be seen. But, as they say, it’s always good to know thy enemy. Finding success in today’s trucking business means learning to work with, not against, government regulation.
1. The EPA is large and in charge
2010’s “Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act” transferred the regulatory role for medium and heavy-duty trucks from the Department of Transportation, which had overseen fuel economy standards for the past 30 years, to the Environmental Protection Agency. While several trucking groups have opposed the switch on grounds that the EPA could make changes without fully recognizing their economic impact, the EPA wields the regulatory sword for time being.
2. New emissions standards are coming soon
By 2018, the EPA is requiring that new combination trailers, heavy-duty trucks and vans, and vocational vehicles attain at least a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption. Costs of necessary engine innovations are expected to drive up truck prices, with the largest effect to be felt by the owners of small trucking fleets.
3. Standards will raise fuel efficiency – and costs
On the one hand, the latest EPA regulations could save an estimated four gallons of fuel per 100 miles on the road. But this fuel economy advantage may be overshadowed by pricier trucks. Costs could increase by as much as $1,050 for work trucks and $6,220 for big rigs, according to The Wall Street Journal. That may be enough to require some independent owners to put their freight companies up for sale.
4. Compliance resources are available
The EPA and American Trucking Association have collaborated to develop the Transportation Environmental Resource Center, a website that spells out the details of environmental regulations. Depending on circumstances, grants and microloans may be available to help owner-operators become compliant with new standards. Larger companies may benefit from SmartWay, an effort between the EPA and freight transporters designed to lower costs.
5. Preparation is everything
The landscape of the trucking industry is rapidly evolving. Regulations and costs are constantly changing. While trucking business owners can’t predict the future, they can do their best to prepare for it. Whether regulations encourage you to reinvest in your company now rather than later or to put your truck business for sale before new rules impact your trucking company valuation, an experienced industry professional can help make your decision a success.