The Final Countdown...Top Trucking Stories of 2013by Jana Ritter - Published: 12/31/2013
TruckingUnlimited.com wishes everyone a Happy New Year and we look forward to sharing a new road with you all in 2014! Until then, stay safe and enjoy reflecting on this past year as we continue the countdown from last week…the biggest top trucking stories to make the annual list at Trucking info!
6. Mexican truck program closer to reality
In July, a court upheld the Obama administration’s pilot program for long-distance trucking across the U.S.-Mexico border. Cross-border trucking was called for in the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994. The Supreme Court will decide January 10 whether or not to hear a petition from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association to overturn that ruling.
5. New transportation secretary named
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced in January he was steeping down as Secretary of Transportation. Over the summer, Anthony Foxx was chosen as his replacement, and is one of the youngest cabinet officers in history.
4. President’s plan looks beyond 2018 emissions
June 25 – In a speech calling for tougher emissions for coal-fired power plants, President Obama also laid out what he wants when it comes to emissions from heavy trucks. The EPA is expected to issue draft regulations sometime in 2014.
3. The Intense Interest and Increased Adoption of Natural Gas
More and more fleets bought natural gas trucks in 2013 as the Cummins ISX G became available. UPS announced it was ordering 700 Class 8 vehicles powered by LNG. Dual-fuel aftermarket systems are letting fleets enjoy some of the benefits of natural gas at a lower up-front cost, with the ability to switch to diesel if you can't find a fueling station. Companies are improving natural gas tank systems to improve range and lower weight and cost. And every week, it seems, more natural gas fueling stations were opening across the nation.
2. Pilot Flying J Accused of Cheating Customers Out of Fuel Rebates
In April, the FBI, IRS raided Pilot Flying J Headquarters, looking for evidence to support allegations that the truck stop chain had cheated customers out of fuel rebates.
It didn't take long for trucking companies to start filing lawsuits. Many of those lawsuits were later settled, but a number are still pending.
By late May, two Pilot Flying J Employees had pleaded guilty.
1. The New Hours of Service Rules
Washington Editor Oliver Patton and other HDT staff stayed on top of all the twists and turns as lawsuits and appeals to Congress tried to get the DOT to back off its controversial 34-hour restart provisions in the new hours of service rules, which went into effect July 1.