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Feds may allow high-sulfur diesel during future fuel shortages

OTTAWA, Ont. -- The federal government has moved to help alleviate concerns about future diesel shortages...


OTTAWA, Ont. — The federal government has moved to help alleviate concerns about future diesel shortages by finally taking steps to implement a suggestion the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) made during the fuel crises of 2007 and 2008.

 

The trucking industry was nearly crippled by two fuel shortages in recent years, the first in the winter and spring of 2007 and then a year later by another in Western Canada. At the time, the CTA suggested the feds allow on-road truckers to use off-road dyed diesel like locomotives can.

 

The off-road diesel contains more sulfur, however at the time most of the engines on the road were of the pre-EPA2007 variety. Environment Minister of the day John Baird, said his hands were tied because there was no regulatory mechanism in place that allowed him to allow for the use of off-road diesel in on-highway trucks.

 

Yesterday, however, regulatory language was published in the Canada Gazette that will give the Minister of the Environment more flexibility should the need arise again in the future.

 

Of course, now that EPA07 engines are more common, using high-sulfur diesel fuel has become less viable for many truck operators, as it will prematurely clog the diesel particulate filter. Nonetheless, the CTA welcomed the change.

 

“Better late than never, I suppose,” said CTA chief David Bradley. “The regulatory amendment could provide some relief were the industry to face another diesel shortage at least in the short/medium term. Let’s just hope we never again face the type of situation that made this an issue in the first place.”


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