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Truckers News Staff | December 01, 2010

— Robin D.

It won’t make a difference one way or the other. We will still have e-Logs and CSA 2010, and hours of service will change to where we drive shorter hours a week, which is the government’s way of creating new jobs. Total bull[expletive]. The sad part is there’s no one in power that can or will stop it.

— Chuck A.

Make things worse as usual.

— James W.

Lawmakers better educate themselves about the transportation industry real quick. It’s in dire need of help, and over-regulating it isn’t the way to fix it. Helping people gain credit to purchase equipment to expand/start up would be a good start. Here in California it just got worse. With Brown elected the next governor and Prop 23 not passing, the air regulations will strangle the trucking industry to near death. If any lawmakers actually care, CARB needs to withdraw the truck rules and let this state get back to profiting once again. Until then, it’ll keep sliding into financial doom.

— Brian C.

It won’t have any effect. It will be business as usual, and nothing will get better in the industry. Nothing ever gets better.

— Aric C.



Are EPA Heavy-Truck Fuel-Mileage Mandates a Good Idea?

By Henry Albert


The Environmental Protection Agency, for all its good intentions, was responsible for the light-truck, SUV and big-van craze of the 1970s on. The only time that fact seems to have everyone’s attention is when fuel prices are high, and then only for a fleeting moment until we get used to the new price.

Henry Albert was Overdrive’s 2007 Trucker of the Year and is the independent owner-operator of Albert Transport. He lives in Statesville, N.C., and blogs as part of Freightliner Trucks’ Slice of Life program at http://sliceoftruckerlife.com/blogs/henry-albert.

There is a plethora of services that trucks are put into, which makes it very difficult to set an achievable fuel-mileage standard. We can be hauling insulation one day with a load weight of 5,000 pounds on flat ground and the next day have a load of 45,000 pounds of paper on mountainous terrain. This creates quite a large variance in specific requirements for one trailer behind one tractor. Truck use is nowhere near as cookie-cutter as the use of an average automobile, where the load-carrying capacity only varies by 800 lbs.

Automobiles represent the very low-hanging fruit for increased fuel-mileage. Most cars get less than 30 mpg and do not carry much weight at all. A truck carrying 45,000 lbs. is much more efficient per pound, for instance. EPA has already mandated fuel mileage for automobiles. When they originally did this, they sent families from the normal family sedan or coupe into light trucks, vans, SUVs and, in recent times, three-quarter-ton pickup trucks.

With fuel being our No. 1 cost, myself and many others have taken steps to improve our fuel efficiency, as this directly affects our bottom line. I have increased the sustainability of my trucking operation by doing everything reasonably possible to increase fuel mileage. I operate a 2011 Cascadia with all the latest aerodynamics enhancements available from the factory. Another thing I have done is add a few additional items to make my vehicle even more aerodynamic. I have added a Nose Cone air deflector to the front of my trailer, Fleet Engineers side skirts on my trailer, aerodynamic mudflaps and Michelin wide-base single tires. More recently, I covered the rain gutter on the upper rear of my trailer, among other items I have modified.

Items I do not have are hood-mounted mirrors, a sun visor or a bug deflector, all of which produce drag in the wind. The result of this is a truck that is averaging just shy of 9 mpg at 65 mph.

It is my opinion that the EPA will not do any better of a job regulating heavy truck fuel mileage than they did the automobile industry. The real potential for fuel-economy gains remains in vehicles used for personal transportation.



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