Clean Trucks not just California Dreamin’ for Oak Harbor

Regional LTL hauler Oak Harbor Freight Lines found itself in a difficult situation when California tightened its emissions requirements. By the end of 2012, 30 percent of any fleet that ran in that state had to comply with US’07 emissions rules. This year that number rises to 60 percent and by Jan. 1 of 2014, it jumps to 90 percent.

That could have spelled trouble for the Auburn, Washington-based freight hauler, which has 32 terminals, 1,300 employees, annual revenues of $150 million and 500 tractors, half of them running in California. Many of those rigs use older emission control technology and would need a retrofit to comply.

“We might have to retrofit trucks at $15,000 a piece and you’re putting that on a truck that’s barely worth it,” said Dan Vander Pol, director of maintenance at Oak Harbor. “We need reliable trucks because our customers rely on us.”

To find a cost-effective solution Oak Harbor turned to someone it could trust — Greg Beman, sales manager at TEC of Seattle, and Mack Trucks for its proven ClearTech? SCR system. Oak Harbor ordered a fleet of MACK? Pinnacle? DayCab models with 415-HP MP8 engines and a mix of 10-speed and mDRIVE? automated manual transmissions. By the end of 2012 the company had 75 Pinnacle models in the field, almost all with mDRIVE transmissions.

“They run well,” Vander Pol said. “They’re getting better fuel mileage than the competition and they’re burning less diesel exhaust fluid. It varies from route to route — some of these trucks pull triple trailers over mountains in Oregon — but I would say 6 mpg would be a safe number.”

Vander Pol said the drivers like the trucks, too, especially the mDRIVE transmission. “They are just ecstatic.”
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