OTTAWA, Ont. — Canadian Trucking Alliance chief, David Bradley, is calling on the federal government to consider easing the financial burden of a new generation of smog-free trucks being ushered into the marketplace this fall.
Following meetings with White House environment officials, federal Environment Minister Rona Ambrose expressed the view that Canada would be wise to emulate some of the emission reduction measures introduced in the U.S. and Canadian businesses should do more to improve their environmental performance.
The Canadian trucking industry has already taken measures to meet stringent new emission laws, through ultra-low sulpher diesel and a new era of truck engines; but greener products correlate into higher costs to the trucking industry.
The CTA is urging the federal government to introduce tax incentives, such as accelerated depreciation rates similar to those that already exist in the U.S., to accelerate the penetration of the environmentally friendly measures into the market.
“Trucks will indisputably be the most environmentally-friendly mode of freight transportation; none of the other modes — rail, marine or air — have any similar form of mandatory emission reductions,” stated Bradley.
Both the U.S. and Canadian federal governments have already passed laws mandating tough new emission standards for truck diesel fuel and truck engines. By October of this year, diesel fuel used in the trucking industry must contain 97 per cent less sulphur, from 500 parts per million to 15 ppm, than current truck diesel.
In addition, beginning this fall all new truck engines must meet strict emission standards. The new engines in trucks coming on to the market will emit 95 per cent lower emissions of particulate matter (PM) and by 2010, 90 per cent less nitrogen oxide (NOx), both precursors of smog.
Fuel marketers say the new ULSD fuel will cost two-to-three cents more per litre to produce and will contain about one per cent less energy content than existing diesel. Meanwhile, the new truck engines are expected to cost up to $10,000 more to purchase, will be more costly to maintain and will impose a fuel efficiency penalty of up to five per cent.
“If cleaner air is the issue, then the federal government should be looking at tax incentives like those other industries obtain, to encourage fleets to turn over their equipment sooner and therefore accelerate the penetration of the smog-free vehicles into the marketplace,” said Bradley, pointing to U.S. carriers who are able to write-down the cost of their trucks more quickly than Canadian carriers, which in turn allows them to re-equip their fleets at a faster pace.
“It would make good environmental sense to have the new engines become the predominant engines in service as soon as possible,” he added.
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