WASHINGTON, D.C. — As expected, the US government has said it will soon mandate fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks. And as expected, Canada’s Environment Minister Jim Prentice has announced Canada will follow suit.
US President Barack Obama announced the impending fuel economy standards this morning, although specific targets were not unveiled.
Soon after, Prentice told media in B.C. that Canada would be consulting with the trucking industry to draft its own proposal. The Canadian trucking industry has voiced concern that Canada would simply copy the US standards, without considering Canada’s unique operating requirements. Prentice told media he would be pursuing a harmonized approach, but would consult first with industry.
“Just like passenger vehicles, manufacturers of heavy-duty trucks operate in an integrated North American market-so a closely-harmonized approach makes sense for them,” Prentice was quoted as saying by the Globe and Mail. He told reporters Canada would draft a policy by late fall, with implementation intended for the 2012-2018 model years.
Meanwhile, truck makers Mack and Volvo commended the president’s proposal and said they were eager to meet the new targets.
Denny Slagle, president and CEO of Mack and Volvo Trucks, was on-hand at the White House when the announcement was made.
“Participating in this effort is consistent with measures we already have in place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our operations and our products,” Slagle said. “Mack joined the EPA’s Climate Leaders Program in 2004 as one of the original charter companies. We originally pledged to reduce GHG emissions by 20% per unit from 2003-2010. As a result of the numerous energy efficiency projects that have been implemented at our manufacturing and administrative locations, we actually reduced GHG emissions from our operations by 42% per unit, and did it two years ahead of schedule. We’ve since recommitted to the program and are well on our way to meeting an ambitious new goal.”
Slagle also commended Obama for emphasizing that the new fuel economy standards should not interfere with the commercial needs of the trucking industry.
“We also fully support the provisions that any such standards applicable to medium- and heavy-duty vehicles must be established in a way that recognizes the commercial needs of the trucking industry and the demands of heavy-duty applications, takes into consideration technology improvement opportunities across the entire vehicle and its operation, is compatible with the complexities of the marketplace, and avoids unintended consequences,” Slagle said.
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