Next Phase of Canadian Vehicle Emissions Rules Maintains Harmonization with U.S.

OTTAWA--Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent announced Nov. 27 that the next phase of proposed restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles and light trucks in Canada will impose progressively more stringent standards over the 2017-2025 model year period.

The proposed regulations, to be finalized in 2013, are expected to reduce per-vehicle emissions by nearly 50 percent by 2025 compared to 2008 models and to reduce Canada's overall GHGs emissions by 162 million metric tons over the 2017-2025 period, he said.

The regulations continue the government's sector-by-sector approach to reducing GHGs emissions, building on regulations in place for the 2011-2016 model years, Kent said in a statement (224 WCCR, 11/17/11).

“These actions prove that we can both tackle climate change and save at the pump,” he said. “Since these proposed regulations align with the stringent standards of the United States, they will not only deliver important environmental benefits, but they will also keep our manufacturers competitive. And that will protect Canadian jobs.”

A spokesman for the environment minister told BNA that draft regulations are expected to be published for public comment within a week in the Canada Gazette.

U.S.-Canada Cooperation Imperative

The integrated nature of the North American automotive sector makes it imperative for Canada to cooperate closely with the United States, and that is consistent with the overall goals set by the Canada-U.S. Regulatory Cooperation Council, established in February 2011 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Obama as part of the “Beyond the Border” agreement on North American perimeter security and competitiveness, Kent said.

“As the race for better fuel efficiency continues to drive increased global competition in the auto sector, Canada and the United States have worked together so that North America can have a common, long-term approach,” he said.

Kent noted that initiatives undertaken to date by Canada's federal, provincial, and territorial governments, as well as consumers and businesses, are expected to generate half of the government's Copenhagen Accord target of reducing GHGs by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020.

Canada's major automotive manufacturers fully support the proposed regulations, particularly as harmonization with U.S. standards allows for greater efficiencies of scale and permits the leveraging of additional costs across the entire industry, Mark Nantais, president of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers' Association, said Nov. 27.

“This is the most significant federal action ever taken to reduce greenhouse gases and improve fuel economy,” Nantais told BNA.

Different Requirements for Cars, Trucks

The proposed regulations would require passenger vehicle manufacturers to reduce their vehicles' GHG emissions by, on average, 5 percent per year through the 2017-2025 model year period, Environment Canada said Nov. 27. However, light trucks are typically used by farmers and construction workers who depend on their utility, so the regulations would provide short-term relief for truck manufacturers through less aggressive annual emissions reduction requirements, the department said in a background document.

The regulations would require light trucks to achieve, on average, 3.5 percent annual GHG emissions reductions in the 2017-2021 model year period and then 5 percent average annual reductions in the 2022-2025 period, it said.

“This will give time for companies to find technological solutions that lead to reduced emissions without affecting the utility of their trucks,” it said.

Environment Canada also noted that although Canada's passenger vehicle and light truck regulatory regime is harmonized with that of the United States, Canada also undertook “unique” measures in the existing regulations to provide increased regulatory incentives for advanced technology vehicles such as electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. Those measures remain in place for the 2017-2021 model year period and will now be offered in both countries, it said.

By Peter Menyasz