The Truck Renting & Leasing Assn. (TRALA) has joined forces with other industry groups to oppose the four-year phase-in of ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel scheduled to begin in mid-2006.

The fear is that such a phase-in could expose the trucking industry to higher fueling costs and liability issues, said Peter Vroom, TRALA’s executive director.

“I do hope the Environmental Protection Agency thinks twice about this rule,” he told Fleet Owner.

The EPA’s 80/20 rule allows 20% of the diesel fuel produced in 2006 to have the current sulfur content of 500 parts per million, with 80% of the fuel produced required to be of the new 15-ppm grade. That 500-ppm fuel will also remain available in decreasing quantities until 2010, Vroom added.

The main issue, however, is that much of the new diesel engine technology required to meet the next round of emission standards in 2007 is not compatible with the current 500- ppm diesel fuel.

That’s why TRALA’s board of directors voted unanimously to join the American Trucking Assns. in opposing the phase-in rule, Tom James, TRALA’s vp – government relations, told Fleet Owner.