Expert Insights from Joe Mastanduno, John Deere Product Marketing Manager for Engines and Drivetrains. This excerpt was originally posted on the John Deere, Straightforward Blog January 27, 2011. You can view the original post here.
1. What are the business implications customers will experience as a result of Interim Tier 4 (IT4)?
With the EPA’s Interim Tier 4 regulation for off-road diesel engines over 175 horsepower effective January 1 of this year, equipment purchasers will begin seeing rapid implementation of IT4 engines across production lines. However, all machines over 175 horsepower did not immediately include an IT4 engine on the regulation date of January 1.
Why? Because manufacturers earned credits from the EPA for meeting other emission regulations ahead of schedule – for example, John Deere earned EPA credits for introducing the Interim Tier 4 Certified 744K Wheel Loader in July 2010. These credits help manufacturers and their customers transition to the new standards by spreading out the design and manufacturing load as well as the cost over a longer time period.
So what does this mean? It means that as we move forward, IT4-powered units will become the only available option across brands for diesel equipment buyers. This equipment will help meet state and local emission regulations or bid specifications requiring the latest emission reduction technology. Contractors, however, will see impacts to their machine acquisition costs and service requirements as IT4 engines add to machine cost and bring with them varying degrees of operation and maintenance changes.
2. What are the best short and long-term planning strategies for businesses relative to Interim Tier 4?
In the short term, there will likely be Tier 3 machines still available as manufacturers use credits to transition to the IT4 standards on certain models. The usual brand comparisons will also require buyers to analyze their current and future local emissions requirements (both government regulations and green bid specifications), engine technology costs, plus operation and maintenance implications.
In the long-term, IT4 machines will be the only option across brands. So even if you don’t expect to have local emissions requirements to meet, planning for cost increases and maintenance changes associated with IT4 engines is necessary. Understanding these implications now, and communicating them to your organization can make the transition easier when you are acquiring your first IT4 machines. There are currently some federal and state programs that can help contractors fund diesel emissions reduction, and researching these funding programs is another valuable planning activity that could provide financial assistance.
3. What are the top resources available to help business owners prepare for Interim Tier 4?
Most equipment manufacturers have IT4 information on their Web sites (e.g. www.JohnDeere.com/emissions). The EPA site also provides helpful information about the new standards. But the best source for help in navigating the emissions landscape is your equipment dealer. A dedicated individual will assist you on engine technology; local regulations; maintenance requirements; and, potential funding sources.