Saab and Volvo to Partner on PHEV Pilot Program in Sweden
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Québec to Adopt California Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Regulations

The government of the Canadian province of Québec will adopt California’s greenhouse gas standards for new light-duty vehicles. Provincial Environment Minister Line Beauchamp made the announcement at the UN climate change summit in Bali. Beauchamp said the new standards will come into effect between 2010 and 2016.

The standards call for an average reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in new light-duty vehicles by 30% by 2016.

The transport sector contributes the largest proportion of greenhouse gas emissions in Québec, and they continue to rise. More than 50% of the transport sector’s GHG emissions are generated by light duty vehicles.

Citizens of Québec will be the first to benefit from this regulation since the new vehicles sold will be more effective and environmentally friendly. Less fuel will be needed to cover the same distance, which is an undeniable economic advantage for the consumer Québec in a context of rising oil prices. Ultimately, it should result in an increase in household disposable income. The industries located in Québec will pursue opportunities for the manufacture of lighter auto parts, especially with aluminum, to respond to this new reality in North America.

—Environment Minister Beauchamp

The draft regulation also provides for a system of tradeable credits to reward manufacturers whose fleet is more efficient than the standards required, as well as royalties, which will be donated to the Green Fund, to incite others to comply.

Like the baseline California regulation specified in AB 1493 (earlier post), the Québec draft regulations specify two categories of vehicles.

There are some differences, such as the Québec regulations drawing a distinction between large volume manufacturers and other automakers. The fleet average emission requirement for an “other” manufacturer, for each category and for the 2016 model year, is the maximum average emission shown for the 2012 model year for the large-volume manufacturers.

Grams CO2 equivalent/km
Model Year Large Volume Manufacturer
Category 1
GVW <3,855 kg;
LCV  LVW <1,705 kg
Category 2
GVW>3,855 kg, < 4,535 kg;
LCV GVW<3,855 kg, LVW >1,705kg
2009 201 273
2010 187 261
2011 166 242
2012 145 224
2013 141 221
2014 138 217
2015 132 212
2016 127 206
GVW = Gross Vehicle Weight
LCV = Light Commercial Vehicle
LVW = Loaded Vehicle Weight

The draft regulations will be open for public comment for 60 days, beginning 3 Jan 2008. The draft is posted on the website of the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks.

(Hat-tips to Bob and MannyGo!)



lets face it folks, it is inevitable that all of north america will be adopting Califonia standards within the next few monhts. and even more likley, auto makers will simply sell the higher efficiency cars in all states and provinces as it will help increase economnies of scale.
Good job Arnie. who would have thunk it from a republican governor?!?!


The downside to a formula like this is that it encourages heavier vehicles in some cases. If the manufacturer makes a vehicle with a GVW of 3,854kg, it can emit 201g. If it makes a vehicle with a GVW of 3,856kg, it can emit 273. So if you have a vehicle right around that weight which exceeds the limit, the "logical" thing would be to add a few kg, even though that makes it less efficient.

It's similar to the problem we have with CAFE, where the law makes small SUVs preferable to the manufacturers over more efficient wagons, since the former bring down the light truck average, and the latter bring up the car average.


The obvious thing would be for states to slap limits on the number of registrations of high-emitting vehicles.  If you can't register it, you can't drive it and the dealer can't sell it.



If I can't buy it, my small business fails and 26 families lose their livelihood. Limits and taxes rarely work as intended. Don't limit our workhorses, make them get 30,50,100% better MPG and lower emissions. Engineering our way out of this problem is the only real answer.

Harvey D


For Quebec Province to follow California (instead of the very loose Canadian regulations) is a major endeavour. Will it hold through the legal process?

Since vehicles sold across Canada, basically meet the same standards, vehicles sold in Quebec Province would have to be the California (modified - metric) version.

Let's hope that the other Provinces will follow and won't wait for the Federal government to change its own regulations..


Can't imagine such regulation ever passing in Canada. Our politicians accommodate most of the times and almost never banish or outlaw. When they do, our Supreme Court turns it down. Protection of human and individual rights by the Canadian Charter etc.

Reality Czech

If your vehicle got 100% better mileage it would no longer be a high emitter.

Bob Bastard

Joseph, I wouldn't really refer to the myriads of chrome-rimmed SUV's I see everyday with one driver and 0 passengers/cargo as 'workhorses.' Sure, there are some people who actually NEED an SUV (park rangers come to mind.) But in reality, only a tiny fraction of the people who own them actually make practical use of them. They are essentially boutique vehicles much like, for example, dump trucks. I don't see how anyone could deny that we need to change the perverse trend of people using these vehicles to commute, alone, on paved and well maintained roads to work everyday. I think the real question is, how do we discourage that trend without causing undue harm to the people who legitimately depend on the vehicles? Closing cafe loopholes? Higher fuel taxes? Higher registration fees?
What would be wrong with Engineer-Poet's suggestion, assuming safeguards were in place to make sure that small businesses would have first priority when it comes to handing out a limited number of high-emitting vehicle registrations?


The 3855 kg cutoff is familiar. But they won't directly add mass to play that game, they will add load capacity- GVWR is not mass, it's the total vehicle weight rating when fully loaded. Of course the heavier components needed for the extra ratings will add some incidental mass, though.

We see this game under CAFE already. The best example is the Ford E-150 "half ton" full sized van. Until a few years ago, it was rated well under 8500 lb. GVWR and had to participate in CAFE and have fuel economy numbers posted on the window sticker (and they were awful numbers). The E-250 "three quarter ton" was essentially identical but with slightly heavier duty suspension and brake components to allow for a larger payload rating, and as such fell just under the 8500 lb cutoff. The E-350 "one ton" version was genuinely heavy enough in weight and payload to fall over the limit. Ford realized that they could remove some of their worst numbers from CAFE truck averaging by boosting the GVWR of both so much that they were over the cutoff. So in 2006 the E-250 crept over the limit. In 2007, the "half ton" E-150 added payload capacity too (having now over a ton of payload rating), which puts the GVWR at 8520 lb., so none of their full size vans are covered by CAFE.

The equivalent half ton Chevy/GMC full size vans are still under 8500 lb. GVWR, and are covered by CAFE.

At least under this regime there IS still a reg for vehicles over that first cutoff point, unlike with CAFE where you are home free at 8501 lb. GVWR.

I don't think any vehicle types will go away under these standards. But they will get lighter, more efficient, have more gears, smaller and more often diesel engines, and they will be slow, like commercial vehicles used to be. Look at what Europeans drive to get their commerce and industry done, and expect to see those vehicles coming here so we can work with the fuel efficiency that they have come to expect. It's just that they have done it largely because of their astronomical fuel prices, and we will be doing it more because of regulation. The small businesspeople I have talked to are already crying for a way to do what they need to do with less fuel cost, though, and the success of the Dodge/Mercedes Sprinter in the US despite the upfront cost says that a lot of them are happy to pay extra up-front to get that.


We learned a few months ago that the ZENN electric car will be assembled in St. Jerome, Quebec. Are these two announcements related?

Regardless, this kind of restrictions will force the builders to sell electric vehicles, and that's good because the resistance of the public is largely based on ignorance. Once they hear that they work fine, demand will increase.

Manny, freezing my *** in Canada waiting in line to buy my first EV.


Bob: "What would be wrong..."

Some words that come to mind; graft, corruption, freedom of choice (the loss of), elitism, Law of unintended consequences, second hand market.

If SUV's got twice the mpg's that they do now, would you still hate them?

What if I don't have a small business but I'm in the construction industry and need a PU to get on the job site? What if the laws in my area on certain days require 4x4 with chains and I'm a 2nd responder in the health industry? What if I just like to haul my boat to the lake or Quads to the flats or camping gear to the mountains? What if What if What if



Good. I am all for this change. BC is thinking about doing the same. This country and the USA was built without the need for such ridiculous vehicles as the pickups now being used for personal transportation. Next thing should be a phase-out of transcontinental trucking. Both countries had emerging intermodal rail-truck systems until trucking tariffs were deregulated. Imagine - when we moved to BC 4 years ago from Toronto our household effects went by semitrailer, 4700km - 5 days on the road, fuel wasting, road destroying, not to mention as a safety hazard and fatiguing for the 2 drivers. The move should have been in a container, on rail, and it would have been here 2 days earlier. Yes, and local delivery by truck such as the hybrids and pure electrics now being used in Europe and just coming on the market in North America.

Bob Bastard

Joseph, who says I 'hate' SUVs or trucks? They are inanimate objects. I happen to own a truck myself. It gets horrible fuel economy, but then again I don't use it to commute to work, or any other time unless I need it. What I hate is the mentality that makes people decide to use a 5000 lb V8 powered hunk of steel to drive alone 80 miles to work everyday. That is why I asked you what type of measures to discourage this behavior you support. Or do you see no problem with Americans continuing to waste petroleum like it's going out of style?


"what type of measures to discourage this behavior"

None, There is a better way (think BASF). If there is to be any mandates, they should be on the car companies. They have dragged their feet for far too long. There is no law of physics that says an F-150 can only get 15MPG. Several of the fuel saving technologies being talked about in the past 5 years were either started or perfected 30 years ago. They could have incorporated things like stop/start, cylinder deactivation and hydraulic launch assist years ago. But gas was cheap and they didn't have too, so they didn't. All the car companies have spent a ton of money on lobbying congress and court battles to keep the status quo. I don't want to hear any Toyota crap, in the big picture they are only Marginally better than the rest.

Legislating social behavior is bad juju. Engineering our way out of this is the only real answer. Don't say that it is not possible or it's too expensive, because that is simply not true.


Joseph, well duh, of course we should engineer our way out of it. And the only way that engineering is going to get done is if you force the car makers to do it. Either that or wait for the cost of gas to get so high that they have to do it in order to make a sale, at which point it's too late.

BTW, what kind of business do you have that would fail if you had to buy a reasonable sized vehicle instead of a ridiculously large one? I think you made that up. I've spent enough time around construction to know that the majority of contractors' vehicles are a lot bigger than they need to be.


There are engineering solutions out there for a great many ills, but they aren't on the market for one simple reason:  the people who would have to pay for the solutions are not the ones who suffer from the problems.  It's the free-rider effect all over again.  Buying a Prius does not exempt you from the national and economic insecurities of oil dependence, because all the things which you depend on (job, food, utilities, medicine) remain vulnerable.  The misallocation of resources in ways which force dependence on scarce or vulnerable fuel supplies creates problems all on its own, because those resources represent sunk costs and lost opportunities.

Fixing this problem takes government.  There are two basic ways to do it:

  1. Use taxes, fees, rebates and other preferences to internalize the external costs (which some people will call "market interference", as if the energy trade has anything like the freedom and information required to be a theoretical free market!).  This makes all riders pay.
  2. Just prohibit the offending products and activities, like the imposition of pollution controls (nothing which emits over the limit can be sold).
Joseph, if your small business requires trillion-dollar subsidies from military ventures to guarantee your fuel supply, you should go out of business; the rest of us will be better off by saving the money.  Of course, if you had a choice between paying the per-gallon cost of those military ventures or converting to a PHEV, you could make a ratonal decision.  Right now you don't get a vote.


Why limit yourself to Cali's AB 1493. Japan and Euro standards are even stricter. Elements of those can be added too.

Harvey D


How can we prohibit vehicles above xx gm CO2/Km when we don't prohibit the sale cigars and cigarettes with all the known ill effects on our health.

Banning advertisement and raising the price from $1 to $8 a pack created a huge black market supplied from factories on Indian Reserves. Mohawk black market cigarettes sell for as little as $0.40 a pack. Governments are loosing $billions in taxes and not much is done about it.

The same thing would happen when you overtaxe or ban other products.

Many old treaties would have to be nullified to get rid of this huge black market. Laws should apply to ALL regarless of your origin. Easily said but not so easy to do.

How can we prohibit vehicles above xx gm CO2/Km when we don't prohibit the sale cigars and cigarettes with all the known ill effects on our health.
We prohibit vehicles over xx gm NOx/km.  What's the difference?
Banning advertisement and raising the price from $1 to $8 a pack created a huge black market supplied from factories on Indian Reserves.
I wasn't aware that there were auto manufacturers on the Rez.  Do you think that people would be able to smuggle Mohawk and Oneida-built guzzlers out and register them as compliant vehicles?  California's rules against 49-state vehicles should be much easier to get around, but they seem to be effective anyway.
Many old treaties would have to be nullified to get rid of this huge black market.
You mean, like the treaties which halted Europe's high fuel and engine displacement taxes or the US prohibition on cars without catalytic converters?  Oops, that didn't happen.

You'd make a better advocatus diaboli if your arguments were a bit tougher than straw men.

Harvey D


Prohibition does not always work the way it should. Drinking alcohol prohibition was just another fiasco that lasted too long. There are many many more examples.

I must agree with you that certain prohitions are easier than others to apply. Gas guzzlers may fall into that category but current users would fight laws (and probably win) prohiting the purchase or use of their big toys.

EU is having problems with imposing vehicle CO2 reduction. Germany (even as a world leader in GHG reduction) is opposing because of their addiction to high power, high speed gas guzzlers. Canada would have similar problems with western provinces, specially Alberta, where the love affair with gas guzzlers is very engrained.

If you really want to prohibit the use of gas guzzler you may have to include buses, trucks, ambulances, NY cabs, lawn mowers, pleasure boats, ski-doos, sea-doos etc.

Harvey D


I forgot most trains and airplanes.

Harvey D


I should have included most if not all war machines??

Prohibition does not always work the way it should.
Precisely. Goods which are in strong demand and have no substitutes are poor candidates for prohibition. But who really needs to emit CO2? A floor-pan full of A123Systems batteries would turn even a Mercedes S-class or Hummer into a zero-carbon vehicle for quite a few miles. If you can't afford that many batteries, drive something less ostentatious.
current users would fight laws (and probably win) prohiting the purchase or use of their big toys.
Manufacturers of the zero-carbon replacements would fight just as hard to force replacement of the old toys. This is something I normally dislike as a gross interference in the normal market, but this is not a normal thing and proper scarcity of emissions allowances would do the job anyway while being less fair to those who are not rich.
If you really want to prohibit the use of gas guzzler you may have to include buses, trucks, ambulances, NY cabs, lawn mowers, pleasure boats, ski-doos, sea-doos....
Let's see:
  • Buses are going hybrid. Streetcars are on-grid.
  • Ambulances are well-suited to PHEV operation.
  • NY cabs seem to be going hybrid as well, and the fast-charging batteries may allow them to go PHEV for most of their operation.
  • I have been using electric lawnmowers since the 1970's. There are electric lawn tractors for the bigger jobs.
  • Except for speedboats, pleasure craft seem well-suited to electric operation. Sailing craft can even recharge their batteries by "windmilling" their propellers and running their motors as generators while under sail.
  • Small, fast land and water craft are a problem, but how badly do we really need them? Most of them are "lifestyle options", not needs.
The US quit building private vehicles during WWII. If we're serious about cutting carbon, do you really think we couldn't do without Jet-skis and snowmobiles until they could be electrified? You seem to want the changeover to require no sacrifice at all, not even paying higher prices. That's setting the bar way too high.
I forgot most trains and airplanes.
The fastest passenger trains and most powerful freight locomotives are electric. Aircraft are the only thing which really require chemical fuels, and even light propeller aircraft may be able to make do with lithium-air batteries.
I should have included most if not all war machines??
The US army is moving to hybrid vehicles because of the enormous logistical and financial costs of keeping the front supplied with fuel. PHEVs and some of the waste-to-energy schemes would make this work even better. Naval vessels down to the size of a destroyer could go nuclear. This leaves aircraft, and we could stockpile F-T fuels from biomass to make them carbon-neutral.

I don't see anything here that can't be fixed with a little sacrifice.

Harvey D


Most of what you said is true but current market penetration is less than 1% in most cases stated. The other 99+% is not at all like what you said.

Most of us are so close to our green backs that we will continue to buy the cheapest (normally the most polluting gas guzzlers), pretending that we really need those 3-ton monsters.

Changing our vehicle and housing buying habits, traditions and addictions do not entail sacrifices per se but more an acceptance that we can do it differently.

Cost does not have to be more. We are already paying way too much for our inefficient oversized gas guzzlers. Tomorrow's PHEVs and specially practical size BEVs may cost a lot less. They may be built in China, India or Brazil etc but, so are our gorgeous LCD HDTVs, cell phones, digital cameras, computers and many other things we enjoy so much.

Tata-Fiat of India has a project to produce 4-5 passenger car for $2500. It will not have 400 HP and will not go 250 Km/hr nor have GPS but it will transport 4 to 5 people from point A to B at the legal speed at a much lower cost while producing less CO2 and consuming less fuel.

current market penetration is less than 1% in most cases stated.
Hybrids were less than 1% just a couple years ago.  That fraction has doubled in something like 2 years; the number of models and the fraction of hybrids is going up steeply.  What matters isn't today's market penetration but how well solutions scale.
Most of us are so close to our green backs that we will continue to buy the cheapest (normally the most polluting gas guzzlers), pretending that we really need those 3-ton monsters.
The 3-ton monsters are the expensive, high-profit models; if people are squeezed, sales of cars like the Focus will go up and Escalades will go down.
Alan Browne

The most effective way to reduce fuel consumption would be to tax it at the pump according to the efficiency of the vehicle.

I would propose that each state and province provide an RFID tag (or transmitter) with every vehicle license.

At the gas pump, the RFID tag would be read and the tax applied according to the specific vehicle. Gas hogs would pay an increasing tax and extreme efficient cars would get a credit against the purchase of fuel (paid for by the hogs). As time goes on, the bar is raised continuously to reward the most efficient and punish those who are not.

Businesses, car pools and other special cases would be able to file for a tax rebate according to their needs for larger vehicles.

Cheaters would face extreme fines.

And to put some icing on this cake, let us put radio transmitters on speed limit signs that tell cars what the max speed is. A governor on the engine would limit the vehicle to no more that 10% above that limit. (Alternately, all vehicles could have GPS and the GPS would tell the governor what the max speed is). This would save fuel and increase safety while freeing up law enforcement for protection against crime. Those caught with cars bypassing the feature would have their cars confiscated and destroyed. Only emergency vehicles would have no limiters (or a higher "tolerance" on the upside).

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