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Canada aligns with US on light-duty vehicle GHGs, Tier 3 regulations and heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency

Canadian Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced developments on three new regulatory initiatives to further support Canada’s efforts to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to provide cleaner air through lower air pollutant emissions from cars and trucks. These vehicles and fuels regulatory initiatives are aligned with those of the United States.

GHG regulations. The final Regulations Amending the Passenger Automobile and Light Truck Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations for model year 2017 and beyond will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, on 8 October. These regulatory amendments represent further action to reduce GHG emissions while building on the existing Regulations for 2011-2016 model year vehicles.

Over the lifetime operation of 2017 to 2025 model year vehicles, the Regulations Amending the Passenger Automobile and Light Truck Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations are projected to deliver total GHG reductions of 174 megatonnes—roughly equivalent to one year of GHG emissions from Canada’s entire transportation sector.

As a result of these regulations, 2025 model year vehicles will consume up to 50% less fuel than 2008 vehicles leading to significant savings at the pump.

Tier 3. The proposed amendments to strengthen the On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations and the Sulfur in Gasoline Regulations will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on 27 September. With these amendments, Canada is proposing to establish more stringent US Tier 3 vehicle and fuel standards to provide cleaner air to Canadians.

The proposed Tier 3 emission standards would apply to new passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and certain heavy-duty vehicles (such as delivery vans). The standards would be introduced with the 2017 model year and increase in stringency until fully implemented in the 2025 model year. Once fully phased-in, the Tier 3 exhaust emission standards would be as much as 80% lower than current Tier 2 emission standards.

Amendments to the Sulfur in Gasoline Regulations would reduce the average sulfur content of gasoline by nearly 70% to 10 parts per million from the current level of 30 parts per million beginning in 2017. Lower levels of sulphur in gasoline would also lead to reductions in air pollutant emissions from vehicles already on Canadian roads and enable new vehicle technologies or strategies to improve vehicle greenhouse gas emission performance.

The Government of Canada has estimated that the proposed Tier 3 standards are expected to result in:

  • Cumulative health and environmental benefits of $7.3 billion and cumulative net benefits for Canadians of $4.7 billion by 2030, representing a benefit to cost ratio of almost 3:1;

  • Air quality improvements in Canada that are expected to prevent approximately 1,400 premature deaths, nearly 200,000 days of asthma symptoms, and 2.8 million days of acute respiratory problems related to air pollution by 2030; and

  • Total estimated reductions in on-road vehicle fleet emissions of sulfur dioxide (43%); carbon monoxide (22%); volatile organic compounds (15%); nitrogen oxides (13%); fine particulate matter (8%) in 2030; and certain other air pollutants on the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, List of Toxic Substances (Schedule 1).

Heavy-duty vehicles. In addition, the Government of Canada announced today it intends to start developing more stringent standards to further reduce GHG emissions and fuel consumption from post-2018 model year heavy-duty vehicles and engines.

The Notice of Intent for heavy-duty vehicles and engines would build on existing regulations for 2014-18 model years. As a result of the existing regulations, GHG emissions from 2018 model-year heavy-duty vehicles will be reduced by up to 23%.

The announcement was made at an auto-sector clean technology roundtable during Minister Aglukkaq’s visit to New York to represent Canada at the Climate Finance Ministerial, the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, a High-Level Assembly for the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, and the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit.

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