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Biodiesel questions must be answered before governments make it mandatory: CTA

REGINA, Sask -- The impact of biodiesel on post-2002 truck engines, the fuel's widespread availability and its bene...

REGINA, Sask — The impact of biodiesel on post-2002 truck engines, the fuel’s widespread availability and its benefits versus the gains already made by the trucking industry when it comes to cleaner burning engines and fuels should all be examined more closely before governments opt to make biodiesel mandatory for trucks in Canada, CTA VP of Economic and Environmental Affairs Stephen Laskowski told the Council of Energy Ministers (CEM) working group on renewable fuels in Saskatchewan yesterday.

CTA was one of many groups, including vehicle manufacturers, agricultural producers and environmental groups, invited to present their recommendations and comments regarding a National Strategy for Renewable Fuels. On the topic of biodiesel, CTA presented a series of questions that the Alliance said must be answered before any mandatory biodiesel blend is brought into Canada.

“The trucking industry has recently undergone a series of dramatic expenses to virtually eliminate smog causing emissions from truck engines and fuels. What does biodiesel provide the industry that the current regulatory path does not already achieve?” asked Laskowski.

Governments must first develop a firm understanding of the impacts of biodiesel on post-2002 engines and work with the industry to understand the impacts for the 2007 2010 engines before venturing down the regulatory path of mandating a biodiesel blend. Regarding biodiesel quality, CTA pointed to recent misfueling incidents in Minnesota, as an example of how the biodiesel producing industry must mature if the product is to gain widespread acceptance in the trucking industry.

When it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by using biodiesel, CTA pointed out the trucking industry is already able to address the issue of greenhouse gas emissions with existing technologies, and asked CEM to work with the trucking sector on finding ways to encourage their adoption. Governments could, for example, give weight exemptions for trucks with auxiliary heating and cooling systems, remove length penalties for trucks and tractors to improve aerodynamics (thus reducing fuel consumption), and explore the benefits of single wide-based tires ( as opposed to friction producing duals). Any of these initiatives would immediately reduce GHG emissions, without necessitating the introduction of biodiesel blends.

As for biodiesel’s future as an alternative to traditional diesel blends, CTA pointed out that one day biodiesel may become a realistic cost alternative for the trucking industry, but this is not currently the case.

A full copy of CTA’s presentation to CEM is available on the Canadian Trucking Alliance web site at

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