Truck maker Navistar International Corp. has said it may ask the US Environmental Protection Agency to rethink stricter diesel emissions standards set to take effect in 2007.

Dan Ustian, the company’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, told the Reuters Autos and Manufacturing Summit there might be a way to meet the spirit of the regulations while making the standards more business friendly.

“In my mind, I don’t believe the trucking industry has presented to the government answers that can meet the intent of the EPA regulations and perhaps live within some better corporate environment for costs,” Ustian reportedly told the summit, held in Detroit. “Maybe just a little relief would make a big difference.”

He said the company is waiting for data to bolster its case, but plans to press ahead regardless of who wins the US presidential race this autumn, Reuters said.

Ustian noted the new standards will be apply only to emissions from new engines. “But we have technologies that will hit all the old products out there, that will have 20 times the effect on clean air,” he said.

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He reportedly said the company may propose retrofitting its older engines while using the latest technology in its new engines.

The upcoming emissions standards will apply to nitrous oxide, a component of acid rain, as well as particulates, which have been linked to respiratory ailments.

According to Reuters, Ustian also said he expects truck orders to remain strong until 2007. He noted truck tonnage remains strong and some of the orders the company has received cover two or three years.

He reportedly said he does not expect a large order surge ahead of the new emission standards, as occurred in 2002, because truckers should have more time to test the newest technology.