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What do you think of the proposed biodiesel mandate?

MILTON, Ont. - The Canadian Trucking Alliance and the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association are at odds over an impending biodiesel mandate that would require all on-road diesel fuel sold in Canada to contain an average of 2% biofuel content....


MILTON, Ont. – The Canadian Trucking Alliance and the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association are at odds over an impending biodiesel mandate that would require all on-road diesel fuel sold in Canada to contain an average of 2% biofuel content. The CRFA argues that the mandate, set to come into force July 1, would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants through the use of biofuels.

The CTA, however, cites a recent federal government review when claiming that any GHG reductions as a result of the would be negligible, while fuel and consumer goods prices would almost certainly increase. Some estimates claim the increase in diesel fuel prices could be as high as eight cents per litre under the mandate. Will truckers be willing to bite the extra cost at the pump in order to offset emissions? Truck News went to the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Milton, Ont. to find out.

Tony Romano, a driver with Trailwood Transport out of Alliston, Ont., says that considering how fuel prices are already spiralling out of control, another increase would be harmful to the industry.

“The way it is, customers don’t want to pay more money for the transport of the goods to get to the store,” he said. “I think that our rates should go a lot higher, at least $1.70 per mile to cover our fuel and everything else. I’m just one guy; there are a lot more people out there that might like it, who knows?”

Bjorn Nelissen, an owner/operator with FS Trucks out of Florenceville, N.B., says that since his company has a fixed price on diesel, it wouldn’t affect him as much.

“FS trucks have a fixed price (on diesel) and we get a very nice fuel surcharge, so it doesn’t really matter to me. My co-workers use a lot more diesel than me and they cannot make any profits, especially in the winter.”

Nelissen also says the potential benefit to the environment shouldn’t be discounted. “Everything we can do to improve the environment is a good thing, especially with newer engines like mine,” he said. “It is very cheap on fuel and low on fumes…If it increases the fuel mileage and if it is good for the environment then I am fine with it, even if it’s a little more expensive.”

Brian McLean, a driver with Hillman’s Transfer out of Sydney N.S., says he thinks the potential increase in fuel prices is nothing more than a money grab.

“What they are telling everyone about what it is going to improve on is just a money grab.  It’s all crap in my opinion,” he says. “What it is going to affect is the consumer. That is who has to pay in the end, and we’re all consumers. They’ll pass on the price to the consumer.”

Robert Rice, a driver with Werner Enterprises out of Omaha, Neb., says he’s sitting firmly on the fence on whether he’s in favour of biodiesel usage in general.

“The jury is still out on what biodiesel will do to the mechanical parts of the truck.  Until that is in, I really cannot give you an opinion,” he told Truck News.

“It sounds good, but like all things that sound good, you have to do a lot of digging to find out whether or not it really is good, especially with a large company like I look for. We have 7,000-8,000 trucks. If you affect a truck by as much as 50 cents a day then it’s a lot of money.”

– Have an idea in mind for a future Truck Stop Question topic? Send a message via Twitter to @adamledlow or e-mail adam@transportationmedia.ca.


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