Senators send letter in opposition to EPA’s glider kit proposal

March 13, 2018

Mark Schremmer


A pair of U.S. senators are attempting to encourage the Environmental Protection Agency to stop a repeal of emissions standards on glider kits.

Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del., and Tom Udall, D-N.M., sent a letter on March 12 to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, asking him to withdraw the proposal.

In November, the EPA issued a proposed rule to repeal emission requirements for glider vehicles, glider engines, and glider kits. The EPA said the proposed repeal was based on an interpretation of the Clean Air Act under which “glider kits would not be treated as incomplete new motor vehicles.” Under the proposed interpretation, EPA would lack authority to regulate glider vehicles, glider engines, and glider kits.

Simply put, the EPA said that gliders aren’t new trucks and that they shouldn’t be regulated like new trucks.

Carper and Udall’s letter claimed that glider trucks “are some of the dirtiest heavy-duty trucks on the road.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association supports the decision to repeal emissions standards for glider kits, as they are a cost-effective option for owner-operators.

“The EPA’s initial decision to classify glider kits, glider vehicles and glider engines as ‘new motor vehicles’ under the Clean Air Act would irreparably damage a truck manufacturing industry that has become increasingly popular in recent years,” OOIDA Acting President and CEO Todd Spencer said in a letter sent to the Committee on Environment and Public Works in January.

“Since 2002, federal environmental regulations alone have increased the cost of a new truck between $50,000 and $70,000, as costly components and systems have been mandated. Given their unique assembly, glider kit prices are typically 25 percent to 30 percent less than a new truck, allowing owner-operators who often work on the slimmest of margins, to save tens of thousands of dollars on their purchase.”

The comment period on the EPA’s proposed rule ended Jan. 5. The EPA received more than 24,000 comments. More than 3,000 of the comments were unique, while about 21,000 were duplicate form letters from various organizations. Many truck drivers and members of the glider kit industry spoke favorably of the rule, while many environmental groups and the American Trucking Associations opposed the repeal.