Staring in 2020, new international mandates will be rolled out to reduce air pollution produced by overseas shipping vessels and cruise ships. The new regulations, combined with data gathered by the EPA late last month, may have a ripple effect that greatly impacts the trucking industry in the United States.

New Fuel Standards for Overseas Shipping

With the new overseas shipping regulations on the horizon, vessels will have to stop using bunker fuel, a high-sulfur oil which gives off a toxic exhaust and is a major contributor to toxins in the ocean and the air. Ships will have to start using cleaner fuel sources, which could mean overhauling engines to accommodate new fuel types. The change may cause an increase in products shipped overseas, both from and to the United States.

The Prices at the Pump

Diesel falls under one of the many “cleaner fuel alternatives” proposed in the international maritime regulations on overseas shipping. If the petroleum industry shifts to producing more diesel to meet the demands of large international vessels to fill the void of bunker fuel, the trucking industry may see an increase in overhead costs. The price of diesel could spike within the next year, causing a strain at the pump for American truckers. Diesel producers along the coastal states may be able to keep prices low, but in the heartland, where there really isn’t a direct line to get fuel to seafaring vessels, the prices may be very high. The availability of diesel within the US may become lower as well, forcing trucking companies to take drastic actions.

Forcing Change

If the overseas shipping industry switches to diesel, the trucking industry may have to offset the cost by finding another alternative. The drastic shift may see an accelerated rise in electric fleets – which is not an inexpensive move. The initial cost of changing over fleets to run on electric may be high, but the long-term cost could be relatively inexpensive. Regardless, fleet owners should brace themselves for an increase in fuel prices by 2020, when the new regulations for overseas shipping take effect.