EPA to Revisit Emissions Standards for Glider Trucks

August 24, 2017
A petition signed by Fitzgerald Glider Kits, Harrison Truck Centers, and Indiana Phoenix was sent to EPA administrator Scott Pruitt

Responding to concerns from truck glider kit and trailer manufacturers and buyers, EPA is taking a second look at provisions of the Phase 2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines rule.

"Gliders" are medium- and heavy-duty trucks that are assembled by combining certain new truck parts (that together constitute a glider kit) with the refurbished powertrain—the engine, the transmission, and typically the rear axle—of an older truck. The glider kit generally includes the tractor chassis with frame, front axle, cab, and brakes.

Gliders kits are used to extend the life of a damaged vehicle, allowing a fully operational reclaimed engine to be installed in a new chassis, for example. The resulting new vehicle is an option for small businesses and owner operators to save the expense of buying a new truck, while still gaining modern features and amenities found in late model trucks.

In an updated rule published October 2016, EPA mandated that glider kits, glider vehicles, and rebuilt engines installed in gliders must meet the same emissions standards as new vehicles and new engines built in a model year, regardless of the actual age of the reclaimed engine. For example, a glider built in 2017 with a remanufactured engine must comply with all emissions standards applicable for 2017.

As the glider rule, called the Phase 2 Rule, rolled into effect, the EPA allowed 73,942 transitional assemblies to be exempt from the rule.

However, as of January 1, 2018 the Phase 2 Rule, which is effective through 2027, limits manufactures to only 300 gliders per year. Companies including Fitzgerald, Indiana Phoenix, and Harrison would be hard hit and small businesses would have fewer vehicle options.

A petition signed by Fitzgerald Glider Kits, Harrison Truck Centers, and Indiana Phoenix was sent to EPA administrator Scott Pruitt in mid-July requesting the agency reconsider the application of the Phase 2 Rule, citing questions regarding how EPA classified glider vehicles and if, in fact, the agency has authority over glider vehicles and kits under the Clean Air Act's definition of 'motor vehicle.'

As a result, Pruitt and the EPA have decided to revisit the provisions in the Phase 2 Rule that relate to gliders and have notified the petitioning companies that EPA intends to "develop and issue a Federal Register notice of proposed rulemaking on this matter, consistent with the requirements of the Clean Air Act."

No dates have been set.