As most readers of this blog know, new emissions regulations went into effect on January 1, 2007. All Class 8 trucks meeting this standard are equipped with Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF’s). In addition, engine hardware and software were revised to varying degrees depending on OEM.

Now, here’s the rub. DPF-equipped trucks weren’t actually built to any large degree until well into calendar year 2007 and possibly even into 2008. This is because truckmakers were allowed to use pre-2007 engines that they had stockpiled prior to January, 2007. Thanks to the pre-buy that front-loaded truck orders into 2006, orders and build plummeted in 2007. As such, there were enough stockpiled engines to carry the pre-2007 engine build well into the 2008 model year.

From a used truck standpoint, model year 2008 is a challenge because some trucks include DPF technology while others don’t. We have parsed out our sales data as much as possible to differentiate between the two, but due to varying degrees of detail in our sales reports – as well as a lack of differentiation in most OEM’s VINs – we can only go so far.

The 2009 model year is a different story. Essentially all 2009 Class 8 trucks met the 2007 standard. Therefore, we can use this model year as a basis for comparison to gauge how DPF technology has affected used truck values.

First, since 2009 trucks are currently four years old, we will compare current performance of four-year-old trucks to previous calendar years. As you can see from the graph below, 2009’s have performed strongly. For the first two months of 2012, four-year-old sleeper tractors averaged $69,945. This figure is ahead of the first two months of 2011 by $3660 or 5.2%. 2012 is so far following a similar trend to 2011, with a strong January followed by a minor to moderate decline in February. However, the February 2012 decline was smaller than the February 2011 decline by 3.3%.

Next, we will compare the 2009 model year to earlier model years and adjust for mileage to determine the impact of model year alone. The figures below list average price by model year for trucks at or below the median mileage of model year 2009 (391,716).

MY2007: $61,079
MY2008: $62,266
MY2009: $73,629

So even when we eliminate the variable of mileage, the 2009 model year brings a premium. This suggests emissions level is not as important as age.

Overall, we can conclude that the market factors driving used truck values are strong enough to override any concerns about reliability and/or the added expense and maintenance of a DPF-equipped truck. As the used truck industry continues to gain familiarity with DPF technology, the high demand for low-mileage trucks should continue to bolster pricing. Values published in the ATD/NADA Official Commercial Truck Guide® will continue to reflect these results.