Caterpillar Says It Will Be Competitive Despite Likely Penalties

Cat engines of the future will buck the trend and use ACERT technology.

Caterpillar says it will have engines in October that will be certified to operate in every state. Even though it likely will have to pay penalties to the Environmental Protection Agency, the company says its engines will be competitively priced.

At a March press conference to announce a new fuel-efficient electronic achievement, Cat Vice President of Engine Products James J. Parker said the company’s strategy dates to 1998. In order to settle an EPA lawsuit over emissions, Cat and five other diesel engine makers agreed in 1998 to produce lower-emission diesel engines by Oct. 1 of this year.

“We were working on two parallel paths after the 1998 consent decree,” he said. “We were working on cooled EGR [exhaust gas recirculation] and a technology called ACERT.”

But after two years researching EGR, and after the other five engine makers chose to meet the emission standards with EGR, Cat announced last year that it was scrapping its EGR research and going with ACERT. But that technology, which combines Caterpillar’s high-tech fuel injection and electronic technology to reduce emissions, won’t be fully ready until 2003.

Although the company can continue to produce engines with current emissions levels, it faces stiff penalties on every non-compliant engine it produces. Parker said the company may pay some penalty, but its price would be competitive with other engines using EGR technology.

“We decided our customers were too precious to us to [use EGR],” Parker said. “So we dropped it. We will be ramping up ACERT by April 2003. Some of those building blocks will be available by October.”

“We will have an engine that is certified in every state. Will we pay penalties? Probably. What will they be? We don’t know

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