The Environmental Protection Agency wants to change its classification of “glider vehicles” – heavy trucks that are built by combining a new chassis with an old diesel engine and powertrain. The move would prevent the EPA from imposing Clean Air Act emissions standards on trucks.
To make a glider, companies typically combine a new body and cabin with a salvaged powertrain. The vintage of the reused engine is important: many of them date from before 2010, when the EPA tightened emissions standards for pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulates emitted by heavy diesel engines.
For years, usable powertrains have been salvaged from destroyed trucks to make gliders that cost about 25% less than new trucks, according to the EPA. But it was only after the recent enactment of new emission restrictions that gliders were “produced in large numbers,” according to the agency.
Fitzgerald is a major player in the glider industry, which has called for the EPA’s rules to change with other companies. In proposing its reversal of the course, the EPA cited their petition – including research from Tennessee Tech, which has ties to Fitzgerald. The EPA cited a school study that found gliders would emit less than 12% of total NOx and PM emissions for all heavy trucks on the road, rather than the 33% that had been claimed by the EPA. ‘EPA under the Obama administration.
The EPA published its proposal in the Federal Register on Thursday, saying its interpretation of the Clean Air Act had shifted from the Obama administration to the Trump administration.
Specifically, the agency says its definitions of terms such as “new motor vehicle,” “new motor vehicle engines,” and new “incomplete” motor vehicles have changed in the Trump era – and that these terms do not. should not apply to glider trucks. In explaining the change, the EPA says it has the right to change positions under a new administration. He also states that previous interpretations of the CAA were “incorrect”.
From the agency:
“By proposing a new interpretation of the relevant statutory language, the EPA now believes that its previous reading was not the best reading, and that the Agency did not adequately address the most important threshold consideration. : that is, if Congress, in the definition of “motor vehicle” … had the specific intention of including … such a thing as a glider vehicle – one compound vehicle at a time new and old components. “
The EPA says it no longer considers glider kits to be “incomplete” new motor vehicles, on the basis of the idea that, because “a glider kit does not have a powertrain, a glider kit does not explicitly meet the definition of “motor vehicle”. “
In its proposed rule, the agency adds that it believes its current interpretation is “the most reasonable reading” of the law.
The agency has opened a comment period on the proposed change, until January 5. In addition, the EPA will hold a public hearing on the proposed settlement on Monday, December 4.