Advocacy Discusses Red Tape at Red Line Towing, Inc. Site Visit

By Jason Doré, Assistant Chief Counsel for External Affairs/Director of Information

Following the Scranton, Pa. Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtable, Advocacy toured Red Line Towing, Inc. in Dickson City, Pa. with its president and founder Mike Murphy.

Red Line began as a towing company but through the years expanded its services to include truck and trailer leasing and repair. Red Line employs 47 workers in Pennsylvania.

Murphy owns approximately 55 trucks and leases 50 of those out to clients of all sizes. He said he must maintain an extra five trucks on hand due to the reoccurring mechanical issues arising from the EPA mandated Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) system all his trucks must have.

“A thousand things can go wrong for one system that may not even be needed,” Murphy said.

The DPF system requirement arises from an EPA rule issued in 2000 under the Clean Air Act. The enforcement period did not begin until 2007 and all engines made from that point on must include one of these DPF systems.

A towing truck getting necessary repairs

Murphy said said the cost of maintenance on the system alone runs approximately $1,000 per year per truck and has added $15,000 to the cost of each truck.

“It’s a huge expense,” Murphy said while explaining the burden this EPA requirement puts on his operations.

More than the actual cost of repairs, the larger expense for Red Line is the downtime the trucks undergo while the system is being repaired. If a DPF system has issues on the road, it shuts the truck down and requires a tow truck to deliver a functioning truck and pick up the disabled one.

Murphy also said the DPF systems present a safety issue due to the heating element of the system being located next the truck’s fuel tank. Murphy said some operators have lost drivers to fire due to this.

In spite of the EPA’s burden on his business, Murphy said Red Line’s business has never been better.

“The economy is rocking and rolling; we have a huge demand,” Murphy told Advocacy of his current business climate.

The recently enacted tax reform bill also helped Murphy grow his business more quickly. Specifically, Murphy said the advanced depreciation provisions of the law allowed him to purchase several new trucks and trailers.

Advocacy is grateful to Murphy and the Red Line team for opening its doors to allow us to learn about the challenges and opportunities of his small business.

Advocacy was in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York for Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables September 11-13.

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Jason Doré is Advocacy’s Director of Information/Assistant Chief Counsel for External Affairs. He can be reached at