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Monday, March 1, 2021

Findings of CTA Study Offers Glimpse of GHG Reducing Opportunities from Trucking Sector

CTA says government has role in accelerating penetration of this technology

OTTAWA – A recently published study conducted for the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) used real-world testing to validate various combinations of add-on technologies featured in CTA’s enviroTruck initiative, as well as some of the technologies that may be featured in Environment Canada’s upcoming heavy duty diesel green house gas (GHG) regulation. The study captured GHG reduction results by measuring the introduction of GHG reducing trailer technologies — features that will not be included in the government regulation but technology that CTA believes should be introduced through a private-public government investment strategy.

The study examined three specific enviroTruck technologies – low rolling resistance dual and single wide-base tires, trailer side skirts and the activation of speed limiters – in projects involving two British Columbia fleets, LTL carrier Clark Freightways, of Coquitlam and bulk hauler, Excel Transportation, of Prince George.

The study demonstrated clear benefits associated with enviroTruck technologies. Clark Freightways saw a combined fuel efficiency gain of 6.3 per cent while Excel Transportation reported a 5.1 per cent fuel efficiency improvement. The average fuel efficiency improvement for the two fleets was 5.7 per cent. The average energy intensity (defined as the quantity of fuel necessary to transport one tonne of freight over one hundred kilometres) improvement was 4.3 per cent. Differences in the magnitude of energy conservation improvements were impacted by the different technologies in use, differing temperatures in the base vs. test periods, payloads, etc.

In terms of the environmental impact derived from the enviroTruck technologies, the study estimates that if 50 per cent of the class 8 tractor trailer combinations in Canada were equipped with these enviroTruck technologies and there were no regulatory impediments to their use, the combined impact would be an annual GHG reduction (as measured by CO2 equivalent emissions) of almost a million tonnes. This represents the combined equivalent of removing about 12,000 trucks or 200,000 cars per year from the roads.  The study also reported significant reductions in criteria air contaminants. However, it is important to note that the vehicles used in the study had EPA 2004 compliant engines; with the introduction of the EPA 2010 compliant engines this impact will be much lower since the new engines are virtually smog-free.

In addition, the study participants confirmed there were no maintenance issues or concerns with any of the technologies used.

“This technology is not smoke and mirrors like some of the so-called plans for reducing GHG,” says David Bradley, CEO of CTA. “It is a serious and practical way to accelerate the penetration of more fuel efficient and less-polluting technology into the marketplace.” However, he says the industry cannot do it alone. “There is a need for incentives to encourage investment, especially these days when cash is tight,” he says. “Additionally, there are also regulatory obstacles that need to be removed.” For example, presently, only Ontario and Quebec have adjusted their axle weight allowances to allow for broad use of wide-base single tires. For the purposes of this study, the Government of British Columbia provided special permits to allow for wide-base single tires to be evaluated.

CTA would also like to see the Government of Canada adopt a voluntary private-public investment program that would allow Canadian trucking companies to begin widespread investment and adoption of similar trailer technologies examined in the study. This investment would help the Canadian trucking industry take the North American lead in GHG reduction and offer significant GHG reduction gains in comparison to the reductions expected from the GHG heavy-duty diesel truck regulation, expected to be released in the summer if 2011.

The impact of enviroTruck technologies on fuel consumption was evaluated using long-term operational observation, comparing the performance of test vehicles to control vehicles. The participating vehicles (which were EPA 2004 compliant) and work cycles were representative of those typically used by the fleets. In addition, the study looked at technology failures, significant repairs, maintenance, tire wear, etc. Finally, the economic impact of the technologies was evaluated based on payback periods and cost of conserved energy calculations.

The Clark Freightways project assessed the performance of vehicle combinations equipped with low rolling resistant dual tires and trailer side skirts. In addition, one of the company’s tractors also had its speed limiter activated and set at no more than 100.6 km/hr. The vehicles operated between Burnaby and Prince George, hauling retail ready bread on racks on the head-haul and empty on the back-haul. The average round trip distance was 1,550 km.

The Excel Transportation project evaluated the use of single wide-base tires (operating under special permit) on two 8-axle, B-train combinations hauling wood chips between Fraser Lake and Prince George then returning empty (round trip 320 km, with total daily travel of 1,280 km) and between Vanderhoof and Prince George (round trip about 210 km, with daily travel of 900 km).

The study was conducted for CTA by the FERIC division of the research institute, FP Innovations. For more information on CTA’s enviroTruck or to request a copy of the report please e-mail your request to ctapublicaffairs@cantruck.ca.