More Stringent Standard for On-Road Heavy-Duty Vehicles in 2014

Lynsey Kitching

With Heavy-Duty vehicles being the leader in greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in Canada, the government is taking steps to try and reduce their environmental impact, as they are necessary for our industrious nation.

The Heavy-Duty Vehicle and Engine Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations which were recently released will reduce emissions from the whole range of new on-road heavy-duty vehicles such as full-size pickups, semi-trucks, garbage trucks and buses being manufactured or imported into Canada. Danny Kingsberry, Media Relations for Environment Canada defines full-size pickups as, “being a class 2B or 3 pick-up truck. It includes all pick-up trucks that have a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 8500 lbs, which includes the 250, 350, 2500 and 3500 series pick-up trucks.”

The government is taking a sector-by-sector approach to the reduction of GHG emissions in Canada. It will complement proposed regulations recently announced to reduce GHG emissions from passenger automobiles and light trucks for model years 2017 and beyond, which build on existing regulations for model years 2011 to 2016.

One major question that comes to mind when reading about GHG emissions: how are these numbers calculated?

Kingsberry says, “The primary model used to calculate GHG emissions was the Motor Vehicle Emissions Simulator (MOVES), which is the US EPA’s official mobile source emission inventory model for heavy-duty vehicles. Key data for Canadian heavy-duty vehicle populations (sales, vehicle survival rates and annual average mileage) were incorporated into MOVES in order to produce the expected GHG impacts of the regulations. The regulations apply increasingly stringent GHG standards to heavy duty vehicles and engines beginning with the 2014 model year.”

The government says these new regulations, which will be completely in place by 2018, will reduce GHG emissions from this group of vehicles by 23 percent. The release says, “The regulations will lead to a cumulative reduction in GHG emissions of 19.1 megatonnes over the lifetime of 2014-2018 model year vehicles.”

The release also states that the increased price to purchase the new vehicles will be offset by fuel savings. The release states, “Heavy-duty pick-ups and vans: up to $1,200 in fuel savings per year for the 2018 model-year; Combination tractors (semi-trucks): up to $8,000 in fuel savings per year for the 2018 model-year; Vocational vehicles (such as buses, freight, delivery, service, cement, and dump trucks): up to $1,000 in fuel savings per year for the 2018 model-year.”

“Our Government continues to align our measures with the United States,” says Minister Kent, “Since 2005, Canada has reduced its overall GHG emissions by 6.5 percent.”

This makes the 23 percent reduction seem enormous, but how will these new regulations be, well, regulated?

Kingsberry says, “The standards apply to new on-road heavy-duty vehicles that are manufactured and imported into Canada for the purpose of sale. The standards are performance-based and companies importing and manufacturing those vehicles have the option to choose the most cost-effective technologies in order to comply with the emission standards. Examples of technologies that are expected to be used are low-rolling resistance tires, aerodynamic cab designs and fuel efficient engines.”

This sounds great, but again, the question remains of how these regulations will be monitored.

Though there is no way to stop companies from using older vehicles, the new vehicles being made will be forced into alignment with the new rules. Kingsberry says, “All companies that manufacture and import heavy-duty vehicles into Canada for the purpose of sale are legally required to manufacture and import vehicles that comply with the greenhouse gas emission standards set out in the Regulations. Companies that do not comply with the Regulations could be subject to enforcement and compliance requirements and penalties as specified under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.”

These new regulations will not apply to activity on private industrial property, only on open roads. “The Regulations do not apply to off-road vehicles such as mining, logging and agriculture machinery. The Regulations apply to all on-road heavy-duty vehicles that are eligible for licensing for use on public roads,” says Kingsberry.