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CTA voices concerns about biodiesel mandate

OTTAWA, Ont. -- Canadian truckers are nervous about an impending rule that will require all diesel fuel sold i...

OTTAWA, Ont. — Canadian truckers are nervous about an impending rule that will require all diesel fuel sold in Canada to contain at least 2% biofuel.


The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) says the government’s plan to require biodiesel use is “flawed and needs to be changed.”


Specifically, CTA is worried about an “averaging provision” which may result in on-road diesel containing more than 5% biofuel, which could create engine warranty issues and cold weather operability challenges.


CTA CEO David Bradley recently pointed out that engine manufacturers admit there could be cold weather operability issues if blends containing greater than 5% biofuel are used. They have also told CTA and other stakeholders that using B5 (5% biofuel) in pre-2002 model year equipment could pose challenges. About 62% of Canadian trucks were built prior to 2002, according to the CTA.


The CTA is also voicing concerns about biodiesel quality. Facilities that are used to properly blend the fuel are in short supply, which may cause some suppliers to resort to “splash blending” which can create inconsistencies in the fuel, the CTA warns.


As a result of its concerns, the CTA is calling on federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice to take action. The CTA wants the legislation reworded to specify that no diesel containing more than 2% biofuel will be sold into the general heavy commercial truck marketplace.


The sale of higher blends should only be permitted as a specialty fuel, CTA suggests. The association says in time, higher blends may be acceptable, but they should not be mandated until engine manufacturers are confident possible performance issues have been dealt with.


The CTA also wants the regulation to identify regions and calendar dates that would be excluded from the mandatory use of biodiesel, to avoid cold weather operability problems. It’s also calling upon the feds to enforce quality standards and Environment Canada to develop procedures for blending processes.


CTA also wants the feds to clarify the impact the biodiesel requirement will have on diesel prices. Finally, Environment Canada should establish an office to monitor and analyze problems arising from biodiesel use, according to the CTA.  


We’re not saying ‘no’ to a national biodiesel mandate, but it has to be done right,” says Bradley. “We’re hopeful the minister will see the sense in what we are saying.”

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