Enviro groups take aim at big trucks - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Enviro groups take aim at big trucks

Albany-- Environmental groups are pressuring Washington to make truckers retrofit their older engines so they run cleaner.

The Clean Air Task Force says more than 20,000 Americans die prematurely every year because of emissions from old diesel engines. But the cost to you could be staggering, and truckers have mixed feelings because of the costs.

John Mumert owns his 1997 Freightliner diesel truck, but could not afford to install new emission equipment on it. "Even the big companies can't afford to do all that. It's a lot of money to put all the emissions on the new trucks," he said. 

Mumert picked up a load of beer at Miller Brewing, and will haul it to Nashville, Tennessee. He said the cost of retrofitting a truck would be too much for an independent operator. "If you try to make them put more than they can into the truck, especially with the price of fuel, a lot of guys will just park them."

New diesels have to met tougher emission standards. But enviornmental groups say unless the million of older trucks on America's roads are forced to improve their engines to met those standards, the air will remain polluted.

Trucker Randy Gosa agrees. "If it will help the enviornment, Yes sir I sure believe in it."

But Mumert said it would be a waste of money for little gain. "The modern day motor is about 200 percent more efficient than what they are considering, so it's a waste of time."

If all diesel trucks, buses, and construction equipment were forced to retrofit their engines, the cost would be passed on to you in increased prices for almost everything. But enviornmental groups ask what price can you put on cleaner air to breathe, and a longer life.

New York City has the worst diesel emission levels in the nation. It's estimated the fumes contribute to the early deaths of 200,000 people a year.

posted by dave.miller@walb.com