So for that price and the benefits derived, we are now manufacturing 350+ hp truck engines that produce exhaust that is cleaner than the ambient air in many major U.S. cities. I don't disagree that exhaust from trucks looked and smelled really bad every time they pulled away from a dead stop. It really needed to be cleaned up, and with our having the best technical resources in the world, we accomplished that.
At the same time, however, the economy tanked, bank lending dried up, freight slowed down, etc. The result: we now have finally sold as many new trucks as we did in 2006, but it took four years to do it. Point being, regulating something as extensive as truck engine exhaust had a series of unintended consequences.
We are now facing new regulations on mandated carbon output and heavy truck fuel economy. The laws passed a few years ago are now kicking in.
Patterns tend to repeat and we will see a push-back from the new vehicle purchasers on vehicles being developed to meet these new standards. I suppose that is good news for anyone that likes to keep equipment for extended periods of time, particularly the people responsible for the repair of those vehicles.
As we go forward into the next chapter of divided government and look forward to more change, it is important to remember that we are the ones responsible for those people in D.C. that love to micro-manage our industry. They work for us.
We want the environment to be clean and we want to do whatever we can to reduce fuel consumption. It just seems to me that those are issues better solved by the business people running our various elements of this great industry.
As an avowed free-marketer, I look forward to watching how effectively the next class of elected officials has listened to the voices of the people.
Tim Kraus is Executive Director of the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association. Prior to joining HDMA, he served as director of sales and marketing at Triseal Corp. The Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA) is the heavy duty market segment association of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Associations (MEMA). HDMA exclusively represents the interests and serves heavy duty product manufacturers.