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CTA spars with fuel group over proposed biodiesel mandate

OTTAWA, Ont. -- The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has accused the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association (CRFA) of being "clearly defensive" since the release of the federal government's Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS) on the...


OTTAWA, Ont. — The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has accused the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association (CRFA) of being “clearly defensive” since the release of the federal government’s Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS) on the proposed biodiesel mandate set to come into force on July 1. The RIAS found that the costs to Canadians of requiring all on-road diesel fuel sold in Canada to contain an average 2% biofuel content would exceed benefits by $2.5 billion over the next 25 years and produce negligible greenhouse gas reductions.
 
On April 8, the CRFA issued a press release in which it accused CTA of “misleading Canadians,” when, according to CTA president and CEO David Bradley, CFRA’s response to the government’s findings were merely snippets from “some warmed over studies” by “‘CRFA-commissioned independent experts – their words not mine…That’s a bit of an oxymoron.”
 
The government’s own regulatory impact statement also indicates truckers’ fuel costs will increase as a result of the biodiesel mandate, as a result of higher fuel prices and reduced fuel efficiency. CTA says data from the US shows that, depending on the biofuel blend, the differential between the pump prices for biodiesel and regular diesel will be significantly higher than the numbers estimated by Environment Canada in the RIAS, while CRFA says its experts believe prices will go down.

The CTA says CRFA has not attempted to rebut its concerns over potential supply issues; notably that Canada will have to import as much as 85% of its biodiesel needs to meet the demand, at least for the first several years, or that biodiesel cannot be transported by pipeline.

“If CRFA is so sure that biodiesel prices will be less than regular diesel and that supply won’t be an issue, why won’t it support an amendment to the regulation which would enable the government to suspend the mandate should prices exceed that of regular diesel or if we end up with supply shortages?” Bradley says.
 
Similarly, CRFA dismisses CTA’s concerns over the potential impact biodiesel could have on the operability and durability of most heavy truck engines as “untrue” saying that biodiesel will work well in “all” truck engines, citing the results of some very limited studies conducted in recent years in near-perfect conditions.

According to Bradley, “What the RIAS says is that if all the stars are aligned in the universe, biodiesel at a two per cent blend can work in truck engines, not that it will work, especially at the higher blends that will occur at various times of the year and in various regions.”
 
Bradley notes that the ethanol mandate for gasoline established a maximum blend rate of 10% specifically to address warranty issues. “Why won’t CRFA support a cap at B5 for now, and then perhaps move the limit up over time when and if the engine technology develops to be able to safely use it? Higher blends could still be sold to those that want it as a special fuel.” Most engine warranties for heavy trucks cover B5 or less, the CTA says.
 
The CTA also notes that estimated GHG reductions as a result of biodiesel use are “very modest” at one megatonne of CO2. CRFA also says biodiesel will contribute to improved air quality, to which Bradley responds, “by regulation all new truck engines built since 2010 have to be smog-free anyway, so I don’t see how biodiesel makes a difference one way or another.”
 
“On balance, the government’s regulatory impact statement raises sufficient concern about the costs and the payback of the biodiesel mandate, that might lead some to question why Canada is heading down this road at all,” says Bradley. “Without some level of consumer protection from increased fuel costs, fuel quality, engine problems, warranty issues and supply shortages, we would agree. What we’re asking for is only fair. We’re not opposed to creating new markets for farmers as long as it’s not on truckers’ backs.”


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2 Comments » for CTA spars with fuel group over proposed biodiesel mandate
  1. JOHN T. MACKAY says:

    NEVER CEASES TO AMAZE ME THAT OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS HAVE NOTHING BETTER TO DO THAN CREATE NEW REGULATIONS BASED UPON PUBLIC OPINION. MOST PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT THE HEAVY TRUCK IS CAUSING ALL POLLUTION PROBLEMS, SO LETS REGULATE THEM TO DEATH. EPA PASSES EMMISION CONTROL REGULATIONS, WHICH HAVE CREATED NUMEROUS DRIVABILTY AND DURABILITY PROBLEMS WITH HEAVY TRUCK ENGINES AS WE SPEAK. EGR ENGINES AS WELL AS AFTER TREATMENT ENGINES ARE EXPERIENCING SEVERAL ISSUES DUE TO THESE EMMISION SYSTEMS. TO FURTHUR AGRAVATE THE ISSUE, TRAINING FOR TECHNITIONS, ON THESE NEW SYSTEMS HAS NOT KEPT PACE WITH INTRODUCTION TIME FRAMES OF THESE NEW TECHNOLOGIES.

    NOW LETS GO WITH BIODIESEL AND FURTHUR COMPLICATE MAINTENANCE ISSUES FOR THE HEAVY TRUCK USER. REAL WORLD TESTING OF ALL EMMISIONS SYSTEMS AND NEW TYPES OF FUEL TAKES TIME AND SHOULD BE DONE USING VARIOUS DRIVING SITUATIONS. IF REGULAR MAINTENANCE SERVICE INTERVALS ARE USED DURING THE
    VEHICLE TESTING, ALL LOOKS GOOD. NOW, LETS PLACE THAT VEHICLE INTO THE REAL WORLD WHERE MANY OPERATORS DO NOT FOLLOW THESE MAINTENANCE INTERVALS,USE LESSER QUALITY SERVICE REPLACEMENT PARTS OR FLUIDS, THE SITUATION CHANGES DRAMATICLY.

    THE AVERAGE MOTORIST DOES VERY POORLY WHEN IT COMES TO MAINTAINING THEIR
    OWN VEHICLE AND THAT INCLUDES THE PEOPLE WRITTING THESE NEW REGULATIONS.
    THSES SAME REGULATORS MOAN ABOUT THE COST OF PRODUCTS THEY BUY. IF YOU GOT IT, A TRUCK BROUGHT IT. RUSHING INTO NEW FUELS AT THIS TIME IS A POOR CHOICE DUE TO THE TROUBLE IN THE MIDDLE EAST, WHICH BY THE WAY HAS BEEN ONGOING SINCE I ATTENDED HIGH SCHOOL IN THE 50’S. DIESEL WAS ONCE THE CHEAPEST FUEL SOLD, NOW IT IS THE HIGHEST. REMOVING SULPHUR FROM DIESEL, WHILE A GOOD IDEA, RAISED FUEL PRICES. WE WERE TOLD THIS WOULD NOT BE THE CASE! ADDING BIO FUEL TO DIESEL WILL ALSO RAISE THE PRICE. WHY, WHEN THE MIDDLE EAST HAVE TURMOIL, DOES THE COST OF FUEL INCREASE TWO OR THREE DAYS LATER. WE ARE BUYING FUEL WHICH WAS REFINED MONTHS BEFORE THIS
    TURMOIL, THEREFORE, WHY THE PRICE INCREASE?

    BEFORE REGULATORS CREATE NEW REGULATIONS, THEY NEED TO EXAMINE POTENTIAL PROBLEMS THE REGULATIONS WILL MOST LIKELY CREATE. IT IS NO SURPISE THAT FEW GOVERMENT AGENCIES DO NOT COMMUNICATE WELL, WITHIN GOVERNMENT AND DO NOT COMMUNICATE WELL WITH THE INDUSTRIES INVOLVED. OUR TRUCKING INDUSTRY IS DEALING WITH A MULTITUDE OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES AT THIS TIME, LETS NOT GIVE THEM MORE HEADACHES.

    TOM MACKAY- HEAVY TRUCK TECHNITION-AUTOMOTIVE TECHNITION-INSTRUCTOR OF
    THESE TRADES.

  2. Cameron says:

    Yawn. Nothing to see here. How is it that the CRFA and federal government can do all this work to show the effects of biodiesel in almost any Canadian application (see NRDDI) from various unbiased studies from every conceivable industry but then a few weeks before it will become a regulation CTA steps in and starts spouting uncertainties? Where’s the CTA’s due dilligence in supporting *their* claims? I mean, Manitoba’s had a mandate for biodiesel since 2009! Certainly if there was an issue in using average B2 someone there would have found something, right?

    I’m not in the camp that says biodiesel will save the world, but if you are going to be against it, at least have as much information as the people who are for it. This is either platforming or fear-mongering, but at any rate it is devoid of any information capable of helping anyone. Press release trolling at its best.

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