Canadian Interim Order Better Aligns Draft Vehicle Emission Rules With U.S. Version

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By Peter Menyasz  

OTTAWA--Environment Canada on May 4 published an interim order to better harmonize the country's draft regulations on greenhouse gas emissions from passenger automobiles and light trucks with rules currently in place in the United States.

The interim order addresses changes to U.S. rules made by the Environmental Protection Agency since Canada's draft Regulations Amending the Passenger Automobile and Light Truck Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations were published in December 2012, the department said in an explanatory note accompanying publication of the interim order in the Canada Gazette, Part I (36 INER 22, 1/2/13).

The order updates the draft Canadian regulations by amending the approach to emission standards for nitrous oxide and methane and their application to emissions from emergency vehicles. The final regulations will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, likely later in 2013.

The order, issued under Section 163(3) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, is interim for a 14-day period pending approval by the federal Cabinet, after which it would remain in effect for up to 12 months.

Economic Benefits Expected

“Environment Canada believes that aligning these regulations with those of the U.S. EPA provides significant environmental and economic benefits, while enhancing the competitiveness of the Canadian auto industry,” the department said. “It is anticipated that the interim order will have a negligible impact on the environmental outcomes of the regulations; however, it will help to avoid unintended consequences of imposing different requirements on Canadian and U.S. companies.”

The draft Canadian regulations would harmonize greenhouse gas emission requirements for the 2017 and later model years. They also include provisions to align both the treatment of emergency vehicles and options for demonstrating compliance with nitrous oxide and methane standards with those in the United States, Environment Canada said.

The interim order follows changes made by EPA to its rules, which were primarily designed to set progressively more stringent standards for the 2017-2025 model year period. However, some of the U.S. changes also impact regulatory requirements for the pre-2017 model year period, Environment Canada said.

The issues addressed in the interim order were brought to Environment Canada's attention by auto industry representatives through consultations on the December 2012 draft regulatory amendments, the department said. At meetings held in recent months, the industry has supported the modifications in the interim order to better align Canadian rules with those in the United States, it said.

Details of Changes Under Interim Order

The interim order offers Canadian vehicle manufacturers and importers the same options U.S. companies have under EPA's final rule for heavy-duty vehicle greenhouse gas emissions for the 2014 and later model years, published in September 2011, which also amended provisions related to light-duty vehicle emission standards for nitrous oxide and methane, Environment Canada said.

The U.S. changes allow manufacturers to have emission levels higher than the prescribed standards as long as they compensate for them in their calculations of overall fleet average emissions performance, it said.

Changes Affect Emergency Vehicles

The interim order also harmonizes Canada's approach with changes in the EPA final rule for light-duty vehicles, published in October 2012, that permit manufacturers to exclude emergency vehicles of all model years from calculations of both fleet average carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions and fleet average carbon-related emission values, the department said.

It also harmonizes Canada's approach with changes in the U.S. rule that exempt emergency vehicles from nitrous oxide and methane emission standards, it said.

“By providing regulated companies with the option of excluding emergency vehicles from compliance obligations, it is anticipated that these vehicles will continue to be designed to meet the necessary performance criteria demanded by the role that these vehicles play,” it said.

“On a national scale, the volume of new light-duty emergency vehicles entering the fleet on an annual basis is minor when compared to the rest of the new vehicle fleet. It is not anticipated that this will negatively impact the GHG [greenhouse gas] emission reduction outcomes of the regulations.”


Environment Canada's interim order regarding greenhouse gas emissions from passenger automobiles and light trucks is available at http://tinyurl.com/cnlly89.