The Obama administration is poised to deliver a victory to engine makers at the expense of truck manufacturers in the next stage of the U.S. government’s plan to tackle climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency is about to propose fuel-economy standards that would mandate efficiency gains in engines and transmissions made by companies such as Cummins Inc. and Eaton Corp., according to executives who have been in discussions with the regulator.
That will encourage the development of new technology and the replacement of engines. “It’s a huge deal,” said Mihai Dorobantu, Eaton’s director of technology planning and government affairs. “It’s an opportunity for advanced technology to contribute both to the economics of the sector and the environment in which we all live.” Truck makers had pushed for eliminating the engine target and just testing the whole vehicle the way automobiles are assessed. That way, fuel-consumption targets could be met with less expensive changes, such as improved aerodynamics. “An overly stringent engine standard could force the introduction of technologies and design changes prematurely, resulting in added costs, weight, vehicle complexity and, ultimately, potentially delaying customer adoption,” said Steve Barry, director of regulatory affairs for Volvo AB’s North American truck unit.