The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Commercial Truck Prices Set to Rise

March 21, 2006

DETROIT - Commercial truck manufacturers are experiencing an increase in sales that may last until they introduce next year's models, when new EPA regulations will cause the prices of the vehicles to increase, according to the Detroit News. This year's sales boom could lead to next year's decline as companies adjust to Environmental Protection Agency’s rules that require medium- and heavy-duty trucks to run on low-sulfur diesel fuel. The new standard, which takes effect Jan. 1, reduces the sulfur content in diesel from 500 parts per million to 15 parts per million. The new engines will also capture and burn soot through filters. The new fuel will not be without its drawbacks. While the EPA says it will reduce smog, increase productivity, and save lives, truckers point out it will cost more and limit cargo carrying to a few miles less on every tank. It could potentially allow engines to wear down faster and raise the price of new trucks by as much as 10 percent, according to the Detroit News. With the pending price jump expected, many are rushing to buy this year's models, which don't have to meet the higher standards. Truck manufacturers and the EPA officials say fuel economy will drop by as much as 1 percent with the new trucks and buses and eliminating the sulfur from the fuel will increase engine wear and tear, according to the Detroit News. The EPA estimates the new rule will reduce smog-causing emissions of nitrogen oxide by 2.6 million tons per year and eliminate 110,000 tons of soot. The agency said the new rule would annually prevent 8,300 premature deaths, 5,500 cases of chronic bronchitis and 17,600 cases of acute bronchitis in children. It's unclear how well older trucks will run on the new fuel, but most believe they won't require retrofitting. Under the new rules, at least 85 percent of gas stations must carry the new cleaner diesel. Some smaller refineries can continue to make the higher sulfur diesel until June 2010. The EPA is also encouraging manufacturers to voluntarily retrofit the 11 million diesel vehicles on the roads.
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