Truck engine makers, while cautioning that the proposal will require exhaust aftertreatment, are glad the EPA is requiring oil companies to produce clean diesel fuel that will make it possible to meet the emissions goals.
Oil companies are vehemently opposed, with their trade group warning that the requirement could lead to severe fuel costs and shortages. The new fuel standard has "potential to seriously affect supplies, adversely affect U.S. consumers and harm the U.S. economy," said Red Caveney, president of the American Petroleum Institute.
The EPA says the proposal could add up to 4 cents a gallon to the cost of diesel fuel and $2,000 to the price of a heavy truck. But trucking industry groups like the American Trucking Assns. and the oil industry say the government is underestimating the costs. They estimated that the rules could boost pump prices by as much as 20 cents a gallon.
Oil industry officials say the new requirements will prompt refiners to pull out of diesel production, which could lead to shortages.
The Diesel Technology Forum issued a statement that it is "especially pleased that for the first time, the EPA has taken a systems approach, recognizing that engines and fuel are both parts of an integrated diesel power system.
Engine manufacturers, however, say they would like to see the required sulfur levels even lower, because the devices used to cut the emissions, similar to catalytic converters, won't work with today's sulfur levels.
Like the Diesel Technology Forum, the Engine Manufacturers Assn. says it supports the low-sulfur fuel requirements in addition to engine emissions standards. However, they say, engine makers may need even lower sulfur levels to achieve the stringent emissions standards EPA is requesting.
"Fuel sulfur levels must be lowered even beyond the 15-ppm cap proposed by EPA to give engine makers the best chance to meet the proposed emissions standards," Keller said. "A higher fuel sulfur level will jeopardize manufacturers' ability to achieve reduction efficiencies and durability requirements."
EPA officials hope to finalize the new rule before President Clinton leaves office.