Mixer truck regulations could ignite unintended carbon consequences

Testifying in the first of two public hearings last month on “Phase 2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles,” National Ready Mixed Concrete Association Vice President, Compliance and Regulatory Affairs Kevin Walgenbach informed Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration officials of the potential for conflicting outcomes if proposed regulations are applied to mixer trucks.

EPA charts ambitious fuel economy and reduced carbon dioxide thresholds in a Phase 2 infographic.

With an eye to incremental fuel economy gains and lower carbon dioxide emissions levels through 2021–2027 model years, the agencies address mixers under a Phase 2 Vocational Vehicles umbrella, standards for which “could be met through improvements in the engine, transmission, driveline, lower rolling resistance tires, workday idle reduction technologies, and weight reduction.”

“If forced to reduce payload in order to meet low weight tolerances, the industry will then be forced to use more trucks, making more trips to deliver the same amount of concrete,” Walgenbach testified. “More trips means increased emissions, increased fuel consumption, more trucks sitting in traffic, and longer hours for industry drivers.”

“The ready mixed concrete industry is asking for the opportunity to be compliant with Phase 2 and still be productive. NRMCA recommends that EPA and NHTSA, instead of pushing weight reductions, advocate for increased weight tolerances in amounts large enough to offset the weights of new equipment and technology that will be employed for compliance with Phase 2.”

While NRMCA is concerned with costs and technology reliance surrounding the proposed rulemaking, the public hearing Walgenbach addressed focused on truck weight matters. The agencies are processing comments posted under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2014-0827 and Docket ID No. NHTSA- 2014-0132 at a rulemaking portal on www.regulations.gov.