No one denies that federal regulations have greatly reduced diesel engine emissions over the past 15 years. While that’s an achievement widely applauded, it’s also generally acknowledged that those same regulations have added greatly to the cost of a new truck. And for many fleet owners, the perception is that while society as a whole has gained much from their cleaner engines, the cost has come with little to no benefit for their businesses.

With the perfect vision that comes with hindsight, it’s time to revise that perception. Yes, emissions systems may have added as much as 30% to the price of a new truck over the last decade and a half. But if you look beyond the smokeless tailpipe, it turns out that development of these advanced emissions controls are paying significant dividends in a whole range of other areas that do, directly or indirectly, have a positive impact on any trucking business.

Most of the discussion up to this point has focused on how the evolving emissions technology has cleaned up diesel’s exhaust, with EPA 2010 standards bringing those emissions down to levels that seemed impossible just 10 years ago. Now that we’ve crossed that barrier, let’s take a look at what else has been gained by the hundreds of millions of dollars spent to achieve such ultra-clean emissions.