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Manitoba Vehicle Standards Advisory Board Recommends Adopting California GHG Vehicle Standards and Supporting Complementary Programs

The Manitoba, Canada Vehicle Standards Advisory Board has recommended that the province adopt the California Pavley standards for regulating greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles, albeit as a deferred recommendation bounded by several contingencies and factoring in the small size of the Manitoba market (2.8% and 0.26% of the Canadian and North American new car market respectively).

In its report, Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Passenger Vehicles in Manitoba, the Advisory Board also recommends a number of complementary programs and measures focused on consumers as well as the existing fleet of light-duty vehicles.

Vehicle standards will have limited impact on reducing greenhouse gases if current vehicle purchase, ownership and use trends continue. Complementary measures to help Manitobans reduce light-duty vehicle emissions should be given equal consideration by the Manitoba government.

—Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Passenger Vehicles in Manitoba

In Manitoba, light-duty vehicles are responsible for 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the province, and 43% of all emissions from all transportation activities. Between 1990 and 2006, emissions from all light-duty vehicles in Manitoba increased by 21.6%, with most of this increase coming from the light truck category.

Trends in Manitoba vehicle use and purchase include:

  • Between 1996 and 2006, the total stock of all light-duty vehicles in Manitoba increased by 37%. The stock of passenger cars has remained relatively flat, while light trucks (including small vans and SUVs) have increased by 88%.

  • From 1996 to 2007, Canada experienced a 6.5% increase in total annual light-duty vehicle kilometers traveled; over the same period Manitoba experienced an increase of 27%, the highest among all Canadian provinces.

  • From 1996 to 2006, the proportion of Canadians commuting to work by car decreased by 1.3%; in Winnipeg this proportion increased by 1.4%, the largest increase among 35 metropolitan areas surveyed.

  • From 1996 to 2006, the number of Canadians using public transit to commute to work increased from 10.1% to 11.0%. In Manitoba, this number declined from 9.8% to 8.9%.

The Advisory Board’s preferred regulatory recommendation is the implementation of the California standards for light duty vehicle greenhouse gas emissions—although it prefers the attribute-based approach of the US Federal “Reformed CAFE” rather than the two distinct weight classes of the California regulations.

It would appear that the reformed CAFE methodology combined with more aggressive CARB [California Air Resources Board] targets would be the most desirable way forward.

However, the Board noted, “the practicality of adopting the CARB standard is influenced by a number of unresolved factors, many of which cannot be locally regulated.”

Accordingly, the Board recommended that a final decision be deferred until the outstanding issue with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) waiver is resolved. The Board recommended the following sequence of options:

  1. Manitoba should adopt the CARB standard if the US EPA waiver is granted; even if Canada adopts CAFE or a different standard, provided that an economic analysis is conducted to ensure that Manitoba’s adoption of CARB does not result in hardship for Manitoba businesses (vehicle dealerships) and consumers.

  2. Manitoba should adopt the same vehicle standard as the government of Canada if Canada opts for CAFE or CAFC (Canadian Average Fuel Consumption) and the economic analysis referenced above determines that adoption of CARB by Manitoba would result in significant adverse business impacts that can not be adequately ameliorated. As well, Manitoba should express its support for the development of a single dominant North American standard that incorporates the strengths of both the revised CAFE and the CARB methodologies and achieves greenhouse gas reductions equivalent to the California standard.

The Board also recommends that Manitoba support the adoption of the most stringent technologically and economically feasible standards at the national level. Based on its analysis of California, CAFE and CAFC standards, the Board recommends that the government of Manitoba communicate a preference for the California Standard to Canada’s federal government, including provincial and territorial ministers responsible for transportation and energy.

Recommended complementary measures include:

  • Reducing emissions from existing vehicles. This includes measures such as programs on vehicle maintenance, tire inflation, reduced idling, and voluntary mobile emissions testing; green driver training programs; vehicle scrappage programs; maintaining and enforcing speed limits and improving the synchronization of traffic lights.

  • Encourage consumers to purchase low-emitting vehicles. This involves replacing Manitoba’s Hybrid Electric Vehicle Rebate program with a greenhouse gas reduction-based vehicle rebate that may include a surcharge on high-emitting vehicles. This program should be developed in consultation with stakeholders and include thorough analysis of impacts on businesses and consumers.

  • Reduce vehicle kilometers traveled. This set of measures includes support for an active transportation infrastructure throughout Manitoba; improved transit services throughout the province; and the development of rapid transit. Starting with the public sector, large employers would be required to develop and offer mandatory workplace transportation demand management programs that promote ridesharing, public transit, walking and cycling.

  • Develop and demonstrate vehicle and fuel advancements. This includes the evaluation of emerging vehicle technology such as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), electric vehicles, and vehicle-to-grid technology. The Board recommends providing support to light-duty fleets for testing new technologies and measuring emission reductions, and the continued promotion of the production and use of alternative fuels such as ethanol, biodiesel and other renewable diesels, using small local production and distribution.

The Vehicle Standards Advisory Board was formed as a condition under the Climate Change and Emissions Reduction Act. This act supports Beyond Kyoto, Manitoba’s action plan on climate change which includes 60 specific actions to reduce greenhouse gases.



Will S

These additional complementary measures are an effective adjunct to simply having a fuel efficiency standard, which does not affect vehicle miles traveled (VMT).

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