Navistar Faces Stiff EPA Fines for NOx Emissions

Truck builder outlines new strategy for natural-gas products

Engine manufacturer and commercial-vehicle builder Navistar Inc. outlined a new, “comprehensive” strategy for natural gas-fueled products on the same day that reports circulated about pending U.S. EPA penalties for heavy-duty duty engines that fail to meet federal pollution standards for diesel exhaust.

EPA’s ruling — “Non-Conformance Penalties for Heavy-Duty Diesel Engines Subject to the 2010 NOx Emission Standard” — directly targets Navistar with penalties up to $2,000/day for each engine it sells that fails to meet the federal standard 0.20 grams of nitrogen oxide per brake-horsepower hour. “These penalties allow a manufacturer to produce and sell nonconforming engines upon payment of a penalty,” according to EPA’s statement.

Navistar previously adopted exhaust-gas recirculation technology to meet the federal standard, but now reports it will submit its heavy-duty engines’ emissions data for EPA certification, and that it expects to comply soon. It has been selling engines by relying on pollution credits to avoid violating the nitrogen oxide limit. It indicated it would pay the penalties until its heavy-duty engines meet the EPA standard.

Meanwhile, Navistar presented a new plan to offer natural gas-fueled products, and unveiled a partnership with Clean Energy Fuels Corp., North America’s top supplier of natural gas fuel.

"Natural gas has clearly emerged as the most realistic alternative fuel option for the trucking industry," stated Navistar chairman Dan Ustian. "Together, Navistar and Clean Energy have come up with a breakthrough program that offers customers a quicker payback on their investment plus added fuel costs savings from day one of operation."

Navistar said it would adapt existing integrated vehicle and powertrain platforms to offer “the broadest range of Class 6 through Class 8 CNG-/LNG-powered vehicles in the category.”

Specifically, it said it would continue offering its International DuraStar and WorkStar vocational trucks with the natural gas-powered MaxxForce DT engine. For the regional haul and class 7/8 vocational market Navistar will offer the Cummins-Westport ISL-G, in the International TranStar and WorkStar.

Also, Navistar will start a second phase of developmental on the International ProStar, WorkStar and PayStar vocational trucks (with Clean Air Power Ltd.), powered by a diesel pilot injection LNG MaxxForce 13-liter engine.

Clean Energy’s contribution to the partnership will be a comprehensive CNG/LNG fueling solution.

Both partners will work with the Navistar’s commercial truck dealers and fleet customers to deploy natural gas-powered trucks and a natural-gas distribution support system.

And, Navistar claimed their partnership “will help accelerate the adoption of natural gas technologies by making it easier for customers to invest in the new technology, including incentives aimed at neutralizing the cost difference for the diesel fuel equivalent for those who purchase at least 1,000 diesel gallon equivalents of natural gas fuel each month.”

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