The American Trucking Associations has said a measure introduced in Washington, D.C., that would bar local officials from allowing diesel-only vehicles to operate in the city past 2017 “would have significant harmful effects on the district’s economy and on the quality of life of district residents.”
In a letter signed by the ATA’s Robert Pitcher and executives from trucking associations in Maryland and Virginia, the organization argued that the Sustainable DC Omnibus Act of 2013
would be harmful to the trucking industry.
“The heavy trucks and tractors used by interstate motor carriers are today overwhelmingly powered by diesel fuel,” they wrote. "Although many motor carriers are considering whether natural gas or other alternative fuels are suitable for their operations, it will be many years — far longer than 2018 — before a significant portion of the commercial vehicle population of this country will be other than diesel vehicles.”
The authors estimated that the majority of trucks on the road would not be able to enter Washington, D.C., if this provision passes. This scenario would “have an extraordinarily disruptive effect on the delivery of most freight into the city,” they wrote. The authors also mentioned that the rule might violate federal statutes requiring all states to provide access for trucks operating on the interstate highway system.
According to IHS Global Insight, more than 38,000 tons of freight is carried into the city each day, a number that accounts for 99 percent of the freight moving into Washington, D.C.
Finally, the authors noted that lawmakers probably didn’t realize the full scope of the act and should reconsider their proposition.
“We recommend that the district rely instead on market forces and federal regulations to improve the environmental friendliness of the diesel fleet and use targeted incentives — as indeed other provisions of the act embody — where necessary.”