Ultra-low-sulfur diesel phase-in gains foes

The Truck Renting & Leasing Association (TRALA) has joined forces with other industry groups to oppose the four-year phase-in of ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel scheduled to begin in mid-2006.

Such a phase-in could expose the trucking industry to higher fueling costs and liability issues, said Peter Vroom, TRALA's executive director.

“I do hope the Environmental Protection Agency thinks twice about this rule,” he said.

The EPA's 80/20 rule allows 20% of the diesel fuel produced in 2006 to have the current sulfur content of 500 parts per million, with 80% of the fuel required to be the new 15-ppm grade. That 500-ppm fuel will also remain available in decreasing quantities until 2010, Vroom said.

The main issue, however, is that much of the new diesel engine technology required to meet the next round of emission standards in 2007 is not compatible with the current 500-ppm diesel fuel.

That's why TRALA's board of directors voted unanimously to join the American Trucking Associations in opposing the phase-in rule, said Tom James, TRALA's vice-president — government relations.

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