Cummins Inc. and Volvo Trucks North America have confirmed they received a letter from EPA reminding the OEMs that they are not to encourage customers to pre-buy engines before October when stricter clean-air regulations are scheduled to take effect.

Cummins executive director of marketing Tom Kieffer said the letter, dated May 3, came from EPA’s office of enforcement and compliance assurance, and was signed by Bruce Buckheit, director of EPA's air enforcement division. He told Fleet Owner the purpose of the letter was to remind engine makers “of non-circumvention provisions of consent decrees.”

The letter says EPA and the Department of Justice have reason to believe that “some persons may be taking actions” that constitute circumvention, Kieffer said. The letter also says that circumvention of the consent decree not only places environmental goals at risk, but also “places complying competitors at significant competitive disadvantage.”

“In fact, everything we’ve done has been about certifying early and instilling confidence in users” in the new engines, Kieffer said.

Since received, Cummins, the only enginemaker to receive formal EPA certification for an Oct. '02 engine at this point, has been working with EPA to provide all inform requested.

A Volvo spokesman confirms that the company has also received the letter, but had no comment except to make a general statement that it will be in full compliance of the consent decree.

Caterpillar Inc. last week said it has received a “208 request” from EPA collecting information on whether they have been encouraging pre-buy. The company said it was told by EPA that all seven engine makers that signed decrees received identical letters.

For more information on the economic implications of fleet pre buys, read The numbers don't add up and THE ‘02 ENGINE DECISION: High Stakes At Risk.