Lipstick on the pig

By Jami Jones, senior editor

A pig is a pig. You can dress it up and put some lipstick on it. But underneath it’s still a pig.

That’s what I can’t help but think every time someone starts going on about how long-haul trucks in Mexico are as good as U.S. trucks.

That is simply not true.

I don’t care if it’s a 2011 top-of-the-line, all-the-bells-and-whistles tractor. It’s still not up to par with trucks in the U.S. – when you look under the hood.

That’s where the standards for the two countries depart. The emission standards for new Mexico truck engines are equivalent to the 2004 standards here in the U.S. So no matter when that truck was built, if it was built any time after 2007 it pollutes 19 times more nitrogen oxides, nine times more particulate matter, eight times more hydrocarbons than the same engine model years in U.S. trucks. They pollute more, a lot more. Period.

The reason Mexico cannot and does not move forward with its emission standards to try and match the U.S. emission standards – which have added $30,000 to $40,000 to the price tags of new trucks since October 2002 – is because of the overall lack of ultra-low-sulfur diesel in Mexico.

You cannot run low-sulfur diesel in 2007 and newer U.S. emission compliant trucks because eventually the fuel will wreck the engine.

It doesn’t matter if the trucks have spanky paint jobs and are dripping with chrome. It’s just putting the lipstick on a polluting pig engine under the hood. LL