Technology + speed limiters = enviroTruck, says CTA

OTTAWA — Parliament Hill has seen its fair share of vehicle convoys over the years — but not anything quite like this.

A departure from the usual protesting farm tractors or buses that converge in the nation’s capital, a fleet of aptly named enviroTrucks rolled into Ottawa to show off environmentally specs and technology.

The event, organized by the Canadian Trucking Alliance, was an attempt to inform citizens and get federal politicians to support incentives that would accelerate the penetration of environmentally friendly, smog-free vehicles into the Canadian truck fleet.

Organizers performed a “white handkerchief test” which was meant to show that the exhaust from the new engines is cleaner than the air in most Canadian cities.

“Current government environmental policy and regulation of trucks deals with only one side of the equation and that is clean air,” says David Bradley, CEO of the CTA. With new standards for truck engines, smog emissions from trucks will be virtually eliminated by 2010, he adds. However, “an unintended consequence of this will be to impair the industry’s fuel efficiency, and therefore its GHG performance.

“It’s an odd situation, but as it stands now, the cleaner the trucks get from an air quality perspective, the worse they are from a GHG perspective. That is the reality.”

CTA, therefore, wants trucking companies, truck and trailer manufacturers, and the federal government to work together on initiatives that produce the “best of both worlds.” Bradley says the kinds of proven fuel saving technologies and add-on devices that would qualify under the enviroTruck program are anti-idling devices (auxiliary power units), tractor and trailer aerodynamic fairings, and low resistance, single wide-base tires.

By combining those technologies with the new smog-free engines; plus adopting CTA’s proposal to limit all trucks in the country to 105 km/h, a true “enviroTruck,’ which cuts smog and reduces fuel consumption could be a reality, says Bradley.

“I applaud the Canadian Trucking Alliance for its enviroTruck initiative, which continues supporting the increased investment in environmental technology and add-on devices for the freight industry,” said Sheila Batka, Environmental Scientist for the US Environmental Protection Agency, which was on hand for the event.

CTA also released a study by Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a U.S. not-for-profit research firm, which validates CTA’s claims. The study shows that if the entire Canadian fleet of 294,000 Class-8 trucks were to adopt a full package of energy-efficiency technologies, Canadian truck owners and operators would save 4.1 billion liters of fuel and reduce emissions by 11,500,000 tones of GHG each year.

CTA says this is equivalent to taking 64,000 Class-8 trucks off the road.

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