EPA to Resume Enforcement of 'Glider Truck' Rules

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
epa to resume enforcement of 8216 glider truck rules

The new acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, has jackknifed former EPA head Scott Pruitt’s decision to quit enforcing the strict sales limits imposed on glider trucks.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, they’re basically new heavy commercial trucks that use old powertrains. Advocates argue that using refurbished engines and transmissions save business owners loads of cash and promote recycling, since the internals would likely end up in a scrapyard. However, many complain that glider trucks simply exist to circumvent emissions regulations.

During President Obama’s tenure, the EPA said that if gliders were allowed through 2025, they would make up a scant five percent of the freight vehicles on the road — but would account for one third of all nitrogen oxides and particulate emissions from the heavy truck fleet. A crackdown was inevitable.

However, the EPA under President Donald Trump said gliders should not be regulated as new motor vehicles under the Clean Air Act. In 2017, Pruitt claimed prohibiting their sales risked putting specialized truck manufacturers out of business as he moved toward deregulation.

In fact, the EPA later issued a “no action assurance” letter on July 6th (Pruitt’s last day) that said glider truck firms would not have to limit their annual production to 300 vehicles through the end of 2019.

Wheeler performed an about-face on the issue, saying he has “concluded that the application of current regulations to the glider industry does not represent the kind of extremely unusual circumstances that support the EPA’s exercise of enforcement discretion.”

According to the LA Times, environmental groups challenged the EPA’s “no action assurance” letter on July 17th in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, asking for an administrative stay as the court considered their emergency motion. That motion was granted the following day.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said the July 6th memo “was blatantly unlawful … By letting more of these super polluting trucks on the road, EPA is putting politics before the public’s health and safety.”

On Thursday, Wheeler said the EPA will move expeditiously on revising the regulations “that apply to the introduction of glider vehicles into commerce to the extent consistent with statutory requirements and due consideration of air quality impacts.” The agency later confirmed it had withdrawn the guidance established under Pruitt.

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  • Manic Manic on Jul 30, 2018

    300 dirty engines per year per co. does not seem like a lot. Then again, these could be melted for something new or not produced and air would be cleaner. Can't this tiny industry build kits which would allow more flexibility with modern engine/tractor combos? Second hand Tier-4 engines to new chassis or something so at least some people could keep their jobs.

  • CarPerson CarPerson on Jul 30, 2018

    The glider sales dynamic has changed. Before, if you crashed your newer rig and repairs exceeded the value, a glider could be built off your original build sheet matching all your heavy components. You got a fully built-out cab, hood, frame, front suspension, and front axle. Your wrecked doner supplied the powertrain including the rear axle and suspension. Rebuild labor was minimized and you were back on the road weeks sooner at lower cost. Today it seems glider-built trucks feature much older salvage engines and drivetrains as the big selling point. Limit salvage engines to three years old and newer and the glider market is right side up again. If it is your crashed truck being kitted, make it five years. CarPerson

  • Kwik_Shift I like, because I don't have to look at them. Just by feel and location while driving.
  • Dwford This is the last time we are making these, so you better hurry up and buy (until the next time we make them, that is)
  • FreedMike @Tim: "...about 40 percent of us Yanks don't live in a single-family home."Keep in mind that this only describes single family **detached** homes. But plenty of other house types offer a garage you can use to charge up in - attached single family homes (townhouses, primarily), or duplex/triplex/four-plexes. Plus, lots of condos have garages built in. Add those types of housing in and that 40% figure drops by a lot. Regardless, this points out what I've been thinking for a while now - EV ownership is great if you have a garage, and inconvenient (and more expensive) if you don't. The good news if you're looking for more EV sales is that there are literally hundreds of millions of Americans who have garages. If I had one, I'd be looking very closely at buying electric next time around.
  • Matthew N Fanetti I bought a Silver1985 Corolla GTS Hatchback used in 1989 with 80k miles for $5000. I was kin struggling student and I had no idea how good the car really was. All I knew was on the test drive I got to 80 faster than I expected from a Corolla. Slowly I figured out how special it was. It handled like nothing I had driven before, tearing up backroads at speeds that were downright crazy. On the highway I had it to about 128mph on two occasions, though it took some time to get there, it just kept going until I chickened out. I was an irresponsible kids doing donuts in parking lots and coming of corners sideways. I really drove it hard, but it never needed engine repair even to the day I sold it in 1999 with 225000 miles on it, still running well - but rusty and things were beginning to crap out (Like AC, etc.). I smoked a same year Mustang GT - off the line - by revving up and dumping the clutch. Started to go sideways, but nothing broke or even needed attention. Daily driving, only needed the clutch into first. It was that smooth and well-synced. Super tight, but drivable LSD. Just awesome from daily chores to super-fun.To this day I wish I had kept it, because now I have the money to fix it. It is hard to explain how amazing this car was back in the day - and available to people with limited money - and still the highest quality.
  • Cprescott Well, duh. You will pay more to charge a golf cart than an ICE of the same size if you charge externally. Plus when you factor in the lost time, you will pay through the nose more than an ICE on lost opportunity costs. Golf car ownership savings is pure myth.