Auto Service World
News   April 4, 2002   by Auto Service World

Emissions Reductions for Heavy Trucks and SUVs to be Announced Today


New federal engine and vehicle regulations being announced later today by federal environment minister David Anderson won’t apply only to SUV’s; heavy-duty trucks will also become a lot cleaner.
The new rules – which will bring Canada in line with regulations already in place in the United States – will lead to the production of a new generation of heavy diesel trucks that will have dramatically reduced smog causing emissions. Emissions of nitrogen oxides, a major contributor to smog as well as emissions of particulate matter, which is linked to respiratory and other health problems, will be cut by 95 and 90 per cent respectively by the time the 2007 model year is introduced to the marketplace. Changes in engine emission standards will begin to take effect as early as October 2002.
In order to achieve the aggressive emission reductions, heavy diesel truck engines will employ new technological add-ons such as cooled exhaust gas re-circulation; particulate traps; NOx absorbers or other technologies currently under development. And, they will run on technology enabling ultra- low sulphur diesel fuel.
Both the United States and Canada have mandated a 97 per cent reduction in the sulphur content of truck diesel fuel from 500 parts per million to 15 parts per million by 2006. Sulphur is a contributor to the production of particulate matter. The new Canadian fuel regulations were introduced in December 2001.
The chief executive officer of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, David Bradley, who will be present at today’s press conference in Toronto, says that “truck fuels and engine emissions have been regulated on a progressively more stringent basis in North America since the 1970’s. The new regulations are simply the next step in that process, though perhaps the most spectacular.” Bradley says that the new fuels and engines will likely cost more than current engines and fuels, at least in the beginning. He adds that there also remain many unanswered questions in terms of their impact on such things as fuel efficiency and maintenance costs. However, he says “that so long as carriers on both sides of the border are required to operate under the same standards, the impact will be equitable.”
“The key, in environmental terms, however, is to accelerate the penetration of cleaner fuels and engines into the marketplace. To us that suggests two things: First, the federal finance minister should give serious consideration in his next budget to tax incentives for companies that invest in the new technologies and fuels. Second, the ministers of the environment and transport should move immediately to address a glaring exemption in the regulation that exists for the rail freight companies,” says Bradley.
“Canada does not regulate the emissions from rail diesel fuel or from diesel locomotive engines. If this does not happen, not only will the trucking industry be put at a competitive disadvantage, but the environment will continue to suffer.”
Anderson did not reflect on the position of the rail industry that it is a more efficient way to move freight than trucks, owing to the large payloads possible.
However, a recent study for the federal government indicated that rail diesel fuel can have a sulphur content as high as 2500 ppm, or 166 times that of the new truck diesel fuel standard. In Eastern Canada particularly, it was found that the fuel used in locomotives is essentially home furnace oil. Another suggests that the introduction of new, higher powered locomotives has led to a reduction in fuel consumption, but produces more emissions per unit of fuel consumed.
The briefing materials accompanying the environment minister’s announcement indicate that the regulation of emissions from off-road vehicles is next on the government’s agenda, but no indication of a timetable or whether rail locomotives will be covered is included. Bradley says that is an unfortunate omission. Moreover, “Last year, federal transport minister David Collenette stated that he would decide on whether to regulate locomotive engine emissions by the end of 2001. As yet, no policy announcement has been forthcoming.”


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