Feds and Trucking Sector Must Work Closely to Monitor Realities of Decarbonization, Set Achievable Truck Emission Policies and Targets

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) is proud of its work with the Government of Canada in helping trucking fleets promote environmental stewardship and reduce their carbon footprint. The Alliance stresses, however, that any future initiatives and regulations to accelerate decarbonization and the adoption of heavy-duty zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs) will continue to require strong collaboration with governments to ensure real-world operational realities are captured, and that targets and standards put forward are practical, feasible and attainable for various segments of the trucking industry.

The federal government has supported the shift towards ZEVs and reducing the industry’s reliance on diesel fuel by introducing successful programs like the medium and heavy-duty vehicle emissions program (iMHZEV) offering rebates for new truck technology; the Green Freight Program supporting the adoption of truck retrofits and aerodynamic devices; as well as various provincial initiatives to test ZEVs and expand educational workshops to promote the benefits of emerging fuel technologies.

Furthermore, the recent introduction of the federal ZEV Council is another positive step in assessing the opportunities and barriers to ZEV adoption. The council brings together industry stakeholders, academics, NGOs, and governments from across Canada to create areas of focus, establish consensus, and tackle issues such as affordability, awareness and education and infrastructure needs.

As ZEV technology continues to rapidly expand and grow, many provincial association members are also working with governments in promoting and educating their members on emerging fuel technologies and their operational capabilities in both the long and short-haul sectors.

However, with the Government of Canada maintaining its intention to align with the most stringent environmental regulations in North America, CTA is reminding policy makers that a “made-in-Canada” approach must underpin any new regulations to ensure a smooth and practical transition to cleaner engines in the trucking sector and to consider that emission reduction plans proposed in foreign jurisdictions may not be easily mirrored domestically.

CTA continues to closely monitor the ongoing developments in the U.S., where the EPA announced ambitious emissions reduction targets for heavy trucks. This announcement has received a mixed reaction in the U.S. because of how reportedly unrealistic and unachievable these targets are, and that they don’t properly consider the current state of operational readiness and challenges such as vehicle affordability, range concerns, lack of infrastructure and charging times, amongst other factors.

The EPA announcement is in addition to the contentious Advanced Clean Truck standards developed in California, which aim to end sales of diesel trucks by 2036. California standards are viewed as some of the most stringent in North America and are problematic for the industry because they are not reflective of Canadian geography, weights/dimensions regimes, battery degradation due to weather and other considerations unique to the Canadian landscape.

“The Alliance believes there is strong understanding within the federal government that long-haul trucking fleets are particularly constrained in their efforts to decarbonize, but also a belief that opportunities to adopt ZEVs are more readily available for regional operations,” says Lak Shoan, Director of Policy and Industry Awareness Programs for CTA. “In the coming months, CTA will be working with members to verify and assess the level of operational readiness for return-to-base operations, and how government and industry can tackle any barriers to ensure the trucking sector is doing its part to address the climate crisis where possible.”

The Alliance is aware of several carriers that are exploring and piloting ZEVs for regional operations, which will help form the basis of a working group comprised of member association carriers and Team Canada members. The group will discuss current decarbonization efforts, the need for additional pilot projects, and other initiatives being taken to adopt ZEV technologies with a particular focus on return-to-base operations.

Members that would like to be engaged in this process should contact operations_safety@cantruck.ca.

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