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It’s time for governments to end hypocrisy

The transportation industry, by its very nature, is an obvious target for legislators looking to reduce this nation’s greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants. It’s one of the largest contributors of harmful emissions, any way...


The transportation industry, by its very nature, is an obvious target for legislators looking to reduce this nation’s greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants. It’s one of the largest contributors of harmful emissions, any way you slice it. Yes, trucks have gotten cleaner and greener in recent years, with the advent of an alphabet soup collection of acronyms: EGR, DPFs, SCR, DEF…you get the idea.

Now the feds, both north and south of the border, are looking to regulate carbon emissions.

It’s never going to end, folks. There are bureaucrats who justify their existence by finding new pollutants to control and, as I mentioned before, transportation is the first place they look.

There are benefits to this, I won’t deny it. I do believe the air we breathe is slowly improving, especially those of us who spend significant time around diesel-powered vehicles.

If anything, the latest GHG regs are something the industry should be willing to embrace. Greenhouse gases are closely linked to fuel consumption, meaning any reduction in these harmful emissions will likely come in lockstep with a lower fuel burn. This means significant savings for fleets.

But what really gets me going is the hypocrisy shown by these very governments that want to see the industry reduce its GHG output yet at the same time, will penalize them for – or disallow them from – using some of the most obvious fuel-saving technologies available.

Take for example, wide-base single tires. Ontario and Quebec, to their credit, allow full parity with duals on the latest generation super-singles. But those two provinces are an island oasis in the middle of an expansive country. East of Quebec and west of Ontario, weights on wide-base singles are restricted to US loads. As you’ll read on pg. 28, no transport minister wants to risk being the one to approve higher weights for wide-base singles and then come to find out later that they cause more damage to infrastructure than traditional duals.

But the real tragedy is, this mindset is based on outdated data. They’re basing their concerns on experiences with a past generation of super-singles that has about as much in common with today’s tires as a smoke-belching 1986 Ford Louisville has with a 2012 Cascadia. Apples and oranges. Sadly, many of these transport ministers view their portfolio as a stepping stone to greater ambitions and don’t want to risk – or create – a legacy.

Another example is trailer tails, which extend from the rear of the trailer providing undisputed fuel savings upwards of 7%. The Canadian rule makers, in their infinite wisdom, have decided these devices are dangerous in the event of rear-end collisions. Yet, roll-off chassis and flatdecks with rearward facing forklifts hanging off the back are perfectly legal.

You can fold these fairings in with a couple of fingers. They’re lightweight and collapsible. What is there to be afraid of?

I don’t oppose government’s role in mandating cleaner-burning on-highway equipment. I’m proud of the progress the industry has made over the past decade in this regard. But you can’t have it both ways. If government wants the industry to go green, it needs to grant access to the tools with which it can accomplish these ambitious targets. Allowing parity with duals on wide-base tires as well as the use of full-sized trailer tails would be a great way to start.


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