The commercial truck industry supports the road toward cleaner and greener trucks, and different states are rolling out incentives to move the initiative forward. ATD has always supported trucks that create a more sustainable future. Policies and regulations, however, should be practical and realistic for the nation’s dealers and their customers.
Just last month, my home state of Colorado released the “Colorado Clean Truck Strategy.” This plan aims to clean up older medium- and heavy-duty trucks, lower diesel emissions, and improve the state’s air quality. This particular strategy includes new incentives, grants, and partnerships with private industries. Dealers should continue to see the rollout of similar clean programs in various states over the next few years, but their success depends on the entire industry.
As a second-generation truck dealer, I’ve never seen technology evolve at a more rapid and steady pace. State incentives like Colorado’s can help companies upgrade their fleets to cleaner burning diesel vehicles as the first step. And in a more sustainable future, we would see zero-emission options like electric or hydrogen trucks and vehicles. But before we can get there, government regulators should recognize the obstacles at hand. The increased cost of newer trucks coupled with unproven technology results in owners keeping their older trucks longer.
It’s important for the industry to keep moving our current fleets. Today’s generation of trucks are already significantly cleaner than pre-2007 models; and they are already equipped with proven technology and reliability that customers trust. While we work to sell the next generation of newer trucks, we should never underestimate the value of today’s trucks as well.
ATD supports one set of national standards that are practical and cost-effective for our customers. We have communicated to regulators that we are against overly stringent CARB standards that won’t work as a national standard. Our association is working to protect dealers against policies that could disrupt the entire U.S. trucking industry and raise costs for customers; increase unemployment; and delay the purchase of newer, safer, and cleaner trucks.
This year we’ve engaged in valuable discussions with federal regulators and have hosted industry experts like Jed Mandel, president of the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association, at ATD’s Super Session on Industry and Public Policy held on March 11. Jed provided an overview of key public policy challenges coming out of Washington, D.C. and how they’ll affect us over the coming years.
ATD will continue to weigh in on this issue as we meet with regulators and industry allies throughout the year. Together, I’m confident ATD and its truck dealers will play an important role and help usher in a new era of cleaner and greener trucks for our great industry.