Canadian Shipper


Climate change funding announcement welcomed by motor carriers

The Canadian Trucking Alliance is applauding the federal government’s announcement yesterday of funding and new programs related to Energy Efficient Technologies anti-idling devices and the study of biodiesel.

Ottawa’s $1 billion package is aimed to help in the implementation of the Climate Change Plan for Canada.

Through a new rebate program, NRCan will offer trucking fleets up to a 19% discount to a maximum of $350 on a cab-heater or a/c unit and up to $1,400 on auxiliary power generators on the purchase of these fuel-efficient alternatives to idling. These options could include (1) direct-fired heaters (heating only) or (2) auxiliary power units. Cost of these emission reduction devices can range from $2250 to $11250 per unit.

"CTA applauds the Government of Canada for developing financial incentives to accelerate the introduction of such technology into the marketplace," said CEO David Bradley. "It will be interesting to see how the market reacts to determine if the level of incentive is sufficient to attract new buyers of this technology."

The CTA says truck drivers idle their engines primarily to (1) heat or cool the cab and/or sleeper (2) keep the fuel warm in winter and (3) keep the engine warm in the winter so that the engine is easier to start. Diesel engine idling consumes about four litres of diesel fuel per hour when the truck’s heating or air conditioning system is operated. A recent U.S Government report concluded that any of the alternatives listed above has significant potential to reduce all impacts compared to idling overnight.

Also contained in the announcement and related to reducing idling from commercial vehicles, is a planned pilot project to explore truck-stop electrification — a technology that requires significant truck stop infrastructure investment prior to trucking fleets equipping their vehicles to utilize such technology .

These new funds will be managed by NRCan’s FleetSmart program — a program that has helped the trucking industry explore different options to achieve fuel savings and reduce their impact on Canada’s air quality and GHG inventory.

CTA added that it was encouraged by the announcement on alternate fuels that further research into the properties and standards of biodiesel will be explored.

Based on U.S. and European Union reports, along with Engine Manufacture Association statements, CTA has in the past expressed concerns over this product and has asked the Government of Canada for clarification. New research will hopefully provide answers to these CTA concerns.

However, the CTA said it was disappointed that the announcement contained funding for a Transport Canada program that tries to educate the shipping community on the climate change consequences of moving freight by various modes. "Energy use is a very limited and misleading measure of comparing the modes," said Bradley. "This fact has been highlighted by many groups including the Centre for Sustainable Transportation."

The CTA says that trucking remains the only freight mode in Canada that uses engines and fuels that are regulated for smog and other air quality emissions. Such regulations pose fuel efficiency penalties for the trucking industry that other modes do not face, it contends. "Consequently other modes may choose to build fuel efficient engines with no regard for their impact on Canada’s air quality."

"The science of air quality and climate change emissions is very complex. Transport Canada’s planned program fails to grasp this complexity." added Bradley.

In the past CTA has encouraged Ottawa to explore a shipper education program similar in nature to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s Smartway Program. CTA will continue to explore this possibility with NRCan.

Prior to today’s announcements, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) had already committed to working with the Government of Canada in mitigating the industry’s impact on both the national air quality and climate change emission inventory.

Earlier this summer CTA and NRC concluded two years of discussion involving a working MOU strategy to explore opportunities to reduce GHG and smog related emissions from trucks. In 2001 CTA gave its full support to regulations that will virtually eliminate smog causing emissions from trucks by 2007.

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