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Use low sulfur diesel for all freight modes: CTA

TORONTO, Ont. -- The Canadian Trucking Alliance is urging the Canadian government to ensure all freight modes - tru...

TORONTO, Ont. — The Canadian Trucking Alliance is urging the Canadian government to ensure all freight modes – trucks, marine and rail — use the same ultra-low sulphur fuel (ULSF).

The CTA is doing so in response to Environment Canada’s August 2003 discussion paper “Reducing the Level of Sulphur in Canadian Off-Road Diesel Fuel” which specifically refers to fuel used by the marine and rail sector.

Low sulfur fuel is also mandated for use by the trucking industry by 2006.

Environment Canada’s discussion paper considers options for the approach and design of a Canadian regulation aligning requirements for sulphur in off-road diesel fuel with those proposed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

As of June 1, 2006, the sulphur content of on-road diesel in Canada will be lowered from its current level of 500 ppm to 15 ppm (ULSF). The introduction of ULSF will have a positive impact on the amount of particulate matter (PM) released on per truck basis as well as being a technology enabler for 2007 truck engine technology. However, the introduction of ULSD into the market place is expected to increase the cost of fuel between one and three cents per litre.

Currently the sulphur level in off-road fuel, such as locomotive fuel, is governed under the conditions of a MOU which state the sulphur level must not exceed 5000 ppm. The EPA is considering lowering locomotive and marine fuel to 500 ppm but not to the 15 ppm that all other on-road and off-road sources in the U.S. will be lowered to by 2010.

Environment Canada has requested stakeholder input as to whether rail and marine should be required to utilize ULSD like all other sectors. In its submission CTA stated that based on operational and environmental data there appears to be no reason why the marine and rail sector should be exempt from having to utilize 15 ppm fuel.

In its discussion paper, Environment Canada also solicited opinions on utilizing the tax system to influence the market regarding the use of varying sulphur fuels in the off-road market. CTA cites how countries like Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark used policy to discourage the use of higher grade sulphur fuels.

CTA’s submission to Environment Canada is available at

Environment Canada’s Discussion Paper is available at

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