More Can Be Done to Reduce GHG Outside of Regulation
TORONTO – The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), a federation of the country’s provincial trucking associations which represents over 4,500 trucking companies and one of the country’s preeminent advocates for environmental solutions, Pollution Probe, agree that if the federal government is truly serious about reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from heavy trucks, then it needs to complement a regulation with a program designed to encourage truckers to voluntarily invest in other technologies and devices designed to improve the fuel efficiency of the entire tractor-trailer combination – both existing and new.
Last May, the Government of Canada announced that it would adopt a regulatory approach similar to that announced by the Obama administration, which would, for the first time in North America, establish fuel economy standards for new heavy trucks. However, the regulation will apply only to new trucks, not the existing fleet, and will not require consumers to purchase optimum performing GHG certified vehicles but will instead develop manufacturing production targets that may or may not include hard sales caps for optimum performing GHG certified vehicles. Moreover, the regulation will be silent on matters related to trailer design — an area where significant GHG reductions can be achieved from the heavy truck sector.
While both organizations support the government’s proposed heavy truck regulations which will borrow heavily from standards currently under development in the United States, they say the reduction in GHG from the new rules could be significantly higher from a complementary program that would assist truckers in financing investment in proven after-market technologies such as tractor and trailer aerodynamics, the new generation of low rolling resistance tires and auxiliary power units to heat and cool truck cabs without having engines idle for long periods of time. They also see programs which provide driver training specifically for fuel economy to be of value.
CTA and Pollution Probe believe that the new regulation will help advance fuel economy and GHG reduction in the trucking sector, but at a much slower pace than if a complementary program was introduced which would assist the trucking industry in overcoming the financial burden of purchasing new “GHG-compliant” tractors (possibly through accelerated capital cost allowances), retrofitting their existing fleets of tractors and trailers, and/or driver training through a program that could include a package of repayable grants, rebates and/or tax credits. The goal of the program would be to accelerate the penetration of GHG-reduction technologies and devices into the trucking marketplace.
“We fully support the development of sound environmental policy and programs that promote fuel efficiency and GHG emissions associated with heavy-duty vehicle use,” says David Bradley, president and CEO of CTA. “While the proposed regulation is an advance in the right direction, we do not think that it alone will get us to where we can be and where we want to be as an industry.”
“Both the National Academies of Sciences in the United States and Sustainable Development Technology Canada have found that through utilizing the full suite of fuel-saving technologies including transmission, trailer and tire designs, fuel consumption and GHG emissions could be reduced by up to 50 per cent in most truck configurations,” explained Pollution Probe Chief Executive Officer, Bob Oliver. “By contrast, the proposed regulations are targeting a reduction of 7-20 per cent.”
Both organizations also say there are a growing number of Canadian companies already manufacturing many of the GHG-reducing technologies. They say Canada has an opportunity to lead not only in terms of effective policy but in the development of a new manufacturing sector.
CTA has made the concept the key feature of its pre-budget submissions in 2010-11.