May 26, 2010
by Purchasingb2b Staff
The federal government announced plans to crack down on the trucking industry’s environmental performance.
On May 21, Environment Canada said it plans to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new heavy-duty vehicles under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 in an effort to align Canada’s regulations with those of the US.
The government says it will begin working with the trucking industry, manufacturers and other shippers in the coming months to develop the new emissions rules. It expects to have a consultation draft available for comment from industry, stakeholders and the public this fall.
Final regulations should take effect between the 2014 and 2018 model years.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) responded favourably to the announcement.
The CTA has long called on the federal government to adopt a cohesive approach to accelerating the acquisition of new, mandatory, smog-free trucks combined with proven technologies that will reduce fuel consumption.
The CTA’s own enviroTruck program—which is based upon the SmartWay program in the US—encourages trucking companies to install after-market devices such as auxiliary power units, roof and side fairings, cab extenders, boat-tails and energy efficient tires to reduce carbon emissions. The CTA has been calling on the feds to partner with the trucking industry and manufacturers to provide meaningful financial incentives to accelerate the acquisition of these enviroTruck technologies.
Stephen Laskowski, senior vice-president of the CTA, said the industry hopes the MAy 21 announcement will lead to reforms in technology, regulation and taxation that will help eliminate the fuel efficiencies lost by heavy trucks over the last few years—something he attributes to federal smog control regulations. In the last 10 years heavy truck engines have undergone a series of dramatic emission reduction and today’s new trucks are virtually smog-free, he explained. But the engineering required to make them smog-free causes more fuel to be burned, creating fuel efficiency problems.
“Fuel is either the first or second leading cost for a trucking company,” added Laskowski. “So intuitively a regulation designed to reduce this cost should be welcomed by our sector, but the devil will be in the details.
The CTA’s main concern with the pending legislation is that the federal government may not understand that trucking is not a homogenous industry.
When adopting fuel efficiency standards, the CTA says the government must be aware that the industry hauls different kinds of product with different types of trailers of varying weights across different terrains—all of which affects fuel efficiency.
Furthermore, allowable weights carried on trucks and the equipment—such as tires and aerodynamic devices—are controlled by provinces and states. The result is a patchwork of regulations across jurisdictions, making it a challenge to mandate specific technologies for long-distance trips.
Consequently, the CTA says any federal reforms regarding fuel efficiency standards must be accompanied by provincial and state regulatory reforms regarding truck weights and dimensions.