EPA finalizes new off-road diesel engine standards

News ARTBA May 14, 2004
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The U

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized new standards May 11 on the exhaust emissions of off-road diesel engines primarily in the construction, agriculture and industrial sectors. The Phase IV standards will take effect starting in 2008 for engines less than 25 hp and will be fully phased in by 2014 for larger engines. EPA estimates that the new standards will add an additional cost to manufacture off-road equipment. For example, EPA estimates the cost of a new 175-hp bulldozer that currently costs about $230,000 will increase in price by about $2,600 to add the advanced emission control systems to the engine and to redesign the equipment to accommodate the modified engine.

EPA also will require major reductions in the amount of sulfur contained in off-road diesel fuel. Currently, sulfur in off-road diesel is at about 3,400 parts per million. The new rules would require that level to drop to 500 ppm by 2007 and then to 15 ppm by 2010.

Originally, EPA and several environmental groups had been advocating that off-road diesel fuel also drop to 15 ppm by 2007. However, ARTBA and several other industry groups persuaded EPA to phase in the fuel requirements over a longer period of time in order to avoid fuel shortages. Even without any shortages, EPA estimates that off-road diesel will increase about a nickel a gallon by 2010 due to higher refining costs to lower the sulfur content.

The proposed regulations also contain provisions to help mitigate the economic costs of meeting the new standards. They provide extra time for small engine manufacturers and small refiners to meet the new standards. The regulations also provide incentives for earlier compliance and allow companies to petition EPA for relief of the burden if the regulations would cause severe economic hardship.

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