Fleets prepare ’07 purchase plans

Carriers are beginning to lay out their truck buying plans to deal with the next round of more restrictive emission regulations, due to go into effect in early 2007.

“It is our intention to continue to keep our fleet as new as possible in advance of the federally mandated engine emission standards, which are required for all newly manufactured trucks beginning in January ‘07,” said Clarence Werner, chairman, president & CEO of Omaha, NE-based truckload carrier Werner Enterprises.

“In addition, all truckload carriers will be required to use new ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel for all of their existing trucks beginning in mid-2006,” he added. “Preliminary estimates are that ULSD will cause an approximate 1% to 3% decline in fuel miles per gallon compared to current fuel, so to gain a better understanding of the impact of this fuel and new engines, we recently received a few January 2007 compliant test engines that we’ll operate using the new fuel.”

Mondovi, WI-based refrigerated carrier Marten Transport is also planning to ramp up purchase plans ahead of the ’07 regulations.

“We have decided to maintain a relatively new fleet during 2005 and 2006 to allow us significant flexibility in dealing with tractor purchasing in 2007 when the EPA’s next round of diesel emissions reduction directives go into effect,” said chairman & president Randolph Marten. “By maintaining a newer fleet, we expect to save on expenses such as increased equipment costs, potential decreased fuel efficiency and maintenance.”

As a result, Marten is boosting its capital spending budget for new equipment this year to approximately $88 million, net of trade-ins, he said.

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