The Canadian Trucking Association says tax incentives to use new, clean diesel technology and other measures it proposes would provide the equivalent benefit of removing 200,000 trucks from the road. The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), a federation of Canada’s provincial trucking associations representing more than 4,500 trucking companies, unveiled a 14-point action plan to drastically reduce smog and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the freight transportation sector. CTA CEO David Bradley says the trucking industry, “shares its workplace with the public and takes its responsibility to operating in a safe and environmentally sustainable way very seriously,” in terms of major new advancements in truck engines and diesel fuel emissions standards. The industry is on the cusp of major new smog-reducing technology. This fall will see the introduction of a new generation of smog free trucks and ultra low sulphur diesel fuel (ULSD) into the marketplace. New truck engines are now required by law to reduce the emission of particulate matter (PM) – a major contributor to smog linked to respiratory illness – by 90%. The diesel fuel running all truck engines will also become ultra clean this fall when new emissions standards kick in to reduce the sulphur content of truck diesel from 500 ppm to a mere 15 ppm. And, within three years – again by law – the emission of the other major precursor of smog, nitrous oxides (NOx), will be reduced by 95%. “The advent of the smog-free heavy truck is happening,” says Bradley. “The key will be to accelerate the penetration of these vehicles into the total fleet.” CTA is urging the federal government to do so by giving tax incentives to trucking companies who adopt the new technology. But tax incentives aren’t the only solution proposed by the federation. CTA’s proposed plan also points to a host of other opportunities to reduce emissions and improve fuel economy. It proposes measures to increase the installation of auxiliary power units to reduce truck idling. It calls upon all ministers of transportation from across the country to endorse a CTA proposal to require the speed limiters on all trucks to be activated and set at no more than 105 km/hr – a measure which Quebec recently included in its action plan on climate change and which is the subject of study in Ontario and by Transport Canada. And it suggests increasing the use of a new generation of single, wide-base tires, which offer significant fuel economy savings, but which is presently limited by restrictions on truck weights and dimensions standards developed in the 1980s. The same standards also act as an obstacle to incorporating non-payload aerodynamic improvements and other vehicle design enhancements. “There are challenges and some obstacles to doing what needs to be done – not the least of which is that the federal and provincial governments have split jurisdiction over trucking regulations — but the opportunities are so significant to reduce emissions from our industry, we are hoping that the federal and provincial governments will work with us to make the plan a reality,” says Bradley. CTA also calls upon governments to more clearly define which biodiesel blends are being considered for trucks, to run joint pilot programs to ensure that operational concerns associated with using biodiesel in the new smog-free trucks in Canadian conditions are addressed, and to introduce and enforce stringent biodiesel quality, manufacturing and testing standards, before considering a mandate for biodiesel use in commercial trucks. Finally, CTA is proposing that other freight modes – rail, marine and air – should be subject to the same type of stringent fuel and engine emissions standards as trucks, given that they too affect air quality and produce greenhouse gas emissions.