LOUISVILLE. David McKenna uses three words to describe Mack Truck’s current status in relation to the impending 2010 emission reduction mandates: “We are ready.”

Speaking at a press conference here at the Mid-America Trucking Show, McKenna – director of powertrain sales and marketing for Mack – said the OEM currently has about 30 test trucks equipped with its selective catalytic reduction (SCR) emissions reduction technology out in the field with customers and it is receiving positive feedback about its performance.

“Since we use SCR to remove NOx (oxides of nitrogen) from the exhaust downstream of the DPF (diesel particulate filter) we are able to ‘tune’ the engine to produce better performance and fuel economy, while using the NOx to passively regenerate the DPF,” McKenna explained. “We’re making the chemistry work in our favor.”

He also stressed that Mack wasn’t anywhere near this level of testing by the same point in its run-up to the previous round of emissions tightening standards back in 2007. “I could not have said this in March 2006 as we prepared for the 2007 [rules],” McKenna said. “That’s an important takeaway.”

Yet Mack isn’t yet ready to follow the lead of its brother company, Volvo Trucks North America, in announcing the upcharge for its 2010-compliant SCR system. Volvo announced last week that it would add $9,600 to the base price of its highway tractors to cover the cost of the SCR package.

“We have more models than Volvo, in such markets as vocational and refuse, so we are still working out the cost,” said Kevin Flaherty, Mack’s senior vp of sales. “But we will be in the ballpark of Volvo’s number.”

McKenna noted, though, that SCR should give Mack an opportunity to save customer’s fuel over time, offsetting to some degree the additional cost for SCR. “In 2010 it’s all about zero emissions and fuel economy,” he said. “If you peg the cost of diesel fuel at $2.42/gal. and the cost of DEF [diesel exhaust fluid, added to the exhaust stream to reduce NOx] at $2.28/gal., with the fuel economy savings we’re seeing with SCR, a typical highway truck could cut their fuel costs by $1,650 per year.”

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