New Ontario diesel biofuel rules

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TORONTO, Ont. – Although it’s far from happy with a recent decision by the Ontario government about biofuel, the Ontario Trucking Alliance (OTA) knows there is little it can do but wait.

Originally, the province of Ontario scheduled a Ministry of Environment proposal about biofuel in diesel to come into effect on April 1, 2014. Today, however, the government pushed back the start date for one year and changed the terms of the mandate.

To begin with, biofuel sold in the province will still be required to contain an annual average of 2% of biofuel, but now, rather than jumping to a 4% requirement in 2016, that full implementation will be delayed until 2017. Also there will be an intermediary step of a 3% annual average requirement. Additionally, fuel sold in Northern Ontario will be excluded from the mandate until 2017.

In a statement, the OTA said the Ontario biofuel mandate will require or incentivize “fuel producers to use biodiesel from plant based product–feedstock petroleum refiners have been less inclined to use because of concerns related to availability, winter and other performance criteria. (Most of the biofuel content used to meet the federal mandate is synthetic and is imported from off-shore sources).”

Not only is the OTA concerned about the type of biofuel being used, it is also concerned about the amounts that will wind up in truck fuel tanks.

“The association fears [the mandate] will inevitably lead to the use of biodiesel with a higher biofuel content than that currently accepted by most heavy truck engine manufacturers’ warranties and the need for strict requirements for adherence to fuel quality standards. OTA felt the best way to ensure those concerns are addressed would be through a cap on biofuel content at 5%. The Ministry of the Environment, on the other hand, felt that enough flexibility has been built into the regulation to avoid biodiesel being sold at B5 or greater.”

According to OTA president David Bradley, the government’s determination to move forward with the program means there is little recourse for drivers or trucking companies.

“With the introduction of the regulations we have no choice but to see what happens,” he said.

“It’s unfortunate that the legitimate concerns of the consumer were not more explicitly addressed when the Ministry of the Environment had the chance to do so during the writing of the regulation. However, going forward, we’re calling upon the Ministry of the Environment to now work with us and the Ministry of Transportation to ensure that warranty issues, fuel quality and winter performance are monitored and corrective action taken when necessary.”

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