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Study finds biodiesel mandate’s negatives outweigh benefits

OTTAWA, Ont. -- A study that calls into question the benefits of Canada's plan to mandate a 2% biodiesel ...

OTTAWA, Ont. — A study that calls into question the benefits of Canada’s plan to mandate a 2% biodiesel blend has the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) urging the feds to scrap the mandate.

The study was produced by EcoRessources Consultants (ERC) for Environment Canada and obtained by the CTA. It concludes that Canada’s biodiesel mandate, to be in effect by no later than 2012, would result in societal costs that outweigh the benefits by a factor of five-to-one.

The study found there’s little to be gained from a biodiesel mandate from an environmental perspective and that it would only create a new market for farmers. The CTA has concerns about the operability issues surrounding biodiesel, which it says remain unresolved.

The ERC study predicts the total incremental cost of the proposed biodiesel requirement would be about $4.5 billion between 2011 and 2035, whereas the environmental benefits would be worth about $860 million.

The bulk of the incremental costs would fall on the trucking industry and other diesel-powered vehicle operators, the study found.

The study also warned it was “probably” that fuel prices could become more volatile and higher while a biodiesel supply infrastructure is established.

It also pointed out biodiesel has a lower energy content than traditional diesel, meaning approximately 604 million litres of additional diesel would be required over the 25-year period covered by the study.

The CTA is calling on the feds to instead focus on rewarding fleets for adopting fuel-saving equipment and technologies included in the alliance’s enviroTruck initiative.

“The industry and society would get a much bigger bang for its buck by working with the industry to implement our enviroTruck initiative,” CTA chief David Bradley said.

The CTA is distributing the study to interested parties. Just e-mail

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