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Jon Osburn and OOIDA’s tour truck, the Spirit of the American Trucker, are at the Petro truck stop in Rochelle, Ill. That’s located at Exit 99 off Interstate 39. Stop in, say hi to Jon, and join OOIDA for a $20 discount through July. See the full Spirit Schedule. Air date: July 18, 2018.

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Making people do the right thing

Recently, a large group of private companies and retailers – running from the giant General Mills down to the granola-esque Ben and Jerry’s, asked the federal government to do something.

Or more importantly, to make other companies do something.

Confusing? You bet. Let me explain.

Those companies asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to increase fuel efficiency requirements for large trucks.

Their reasoning, as quoted in Politico: Forcing trucks to be more efficient will help those businesses lower their carbon footprint.

Putting aside the entire argument about climate change and greenhouse gases and on and on, my question is this: What’s stopping you from doing it yourself?

And yes, that question is rhetorical, because I know the answer. They want the government to do it ‘cause it’s hard.

They could work on their own production facilities. They could buy their own trucks and build them to be efficient. They could also do what many larger carriers won’t, and that the government has never asked them to do: Train drivers to drive more efficiently.

After all, that’s what gets the best results in terms of increased fuel efficiency, far more than any device or technology.

But that’s hard. We don’t like to do hard things – ‘cause, you know, they’re hard.

It’s much easier to force everyone in an entirely different industry to completely upend what they do, to spend someone else’s money on expensive tech, to make them gear up trucks.

It’s easy to make other people buy things. Buying things ourselves is hard. Training workers right is hard.

Never mind that it works better, but like I said, we don’t like to do hard things. And we most certainly don’t want to pay higher freight rates to compensate for all that new tech. We just want to make the truckers buy it. Because that’s easy. We like easy.

If those companies want to do something like that, no one is stopping them. They can make that choice now.

If they were spending the money, they might decide that training was a better way to go. They might not want to invest in all that tech.

But it’s very easy indeed to say what others should buy.

What’s worse is that these companies, in a statement quoted by Politico, used my favorite current phrase in trucking.

“Greenhouse gas rules for heavy trucks will provide a level playing field for companies seeking to reduce their carbon footprints."

Ah, yes, the so-called “level playing field.”

The “I want to do this, but it will cost me money, so I want to force you to do it so it costs you, too – even though you didn’t make the same choice and don’t see the same needs” argument.


As I said, I’m uninterested in re-hashing the arguments about climate change or greenhouse gases, because in reality, this isn’t about that.

This is about large companies forcing smaller companies to do something so the small companies have no competitive advantage.

And that has no place in federal law or regulation.


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