If you've been driving your current heavy-duty truck for years without many mechanical or electrical issues, you may not pay much attention to the continuously updating regulations from the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, the older your truck gets, the more likely it is to be out of compliance with various efficiency and emissions standards set forth by the EPA, cost you money in wasted fuel, and potentially even subjecting you or your employer to fines. On the other hand, purchasing a brand-new semi-truck built to these regulations' specifications can be cost-prohibitive for most drivers just trying to earn a living. What are your options? Read on to learn more about some of the EPA's more recent regulations as they relate to heavy-duty trucks as well as what you can do to abide by these regulations without purchasing a new vehicle.
What regulations were just released by the EPA?
In 2016, the EPA released a nearly 1,700-page rule book on greenhouse-gas pollution. Included in this rule book was a call to eliminate engine idling while parked or the use of diesel-powered auxiliary power units (APUs) as small generators to power a cab's heater, air conditioner, microwave, or portable refrigerator.
Because many truck drivers will spend their evenings or off hours parked in an area that may not be shielded from the elements or close to a source of power, the ability to keep the truck's cab climate-controlled at all times and to be able to keep cold or frozen food on hand can be invaluable. However, doing so can significantly contribute to the amount of airborne pollution and particulates released by heavy-duty diesel engines (which already account for a fifth of all U.S. air pollution). The EPA hopes to reduce the pollution attributable to APUs or extended idling by 95 percent within the next eight years.
Also included in the EPA's greenhouse gas–pollution rule book was a mandate to truck manufacturers to improve fuel efficiency—both by making trucks lighter and more aerodynamic when hauling cargo and by working with the engine to retain power and towing capacity while reducing fuel consumption. Although these regulations relate only to newly manufactured trucks, not those already on the road, you may find it much more difficult to find parts for (or sell) your well-used truck that is no longer up to code when it comes to emissions and efficiency.
What are your options when it comes to achieving the new EPA standards?
Fortunately, because many of the EPA's regulations apply only to new vehicles, you won't be required to make many changes when it comes to fuel efficiency (although it's always a good idea to do what you can to cut your fuel costs and put more money back into your pocket). However, the regulations relating to use of APUs or engine idling may have more of a direct impact on your lifestyle, and whether you're an owner-operator or a fleet driver, you may find yourself pressured into achieving these standards sooner rather than later.
There are a number of aftermarket options that can help you reduce your emissions without compromising comfort or security, like idle controllers that lower the speed of your truck's idle (along with fuel consumption) while still providing power to your cab. These idle controllers can also kick in while you're sitting in heavy traffic, helping reduce smog and preserve your fuel for when you get back up to speed. Switching to an APU that operates on natural gas or biodiesel can also result in "cleaner" emissions, allowing you to run your appliances and air conditioner all night while still emitting only a fraction of the particulates that can come from a diesel-powered APU.
To learn more about the features currently available on semi-trucks, consult a professional such as Arrow Truck Sales.
Every year, I always become sad when the weather turns cooler in the fall. When I see the leaves changing colors, I know bitterly cold winter weather will arrive soon. Besides stocking up on warm clothing, fall is a great time of the year to prepare your vehicle for winter. When you’re riding down the road during a snowstorm, you obviously don’t want to encounter any difficulties. To get your automobile in pristine condition for winter, you need to check both your vehicle’s antifreeze and coolant levels. You should also examine the tread on your tires. Switching your windshield wiper fluid is also crucial. On this blog, I hope you will discover tips to help you prepare your vehicle for a long, cold winter. Enjoy!