Canada’s truckers – including drivers of full-size pickups – are facing rising vehicle costs as Ottawa joins with the United States in imposing new greenhouse gas emissions standards starting in 2014 model years.
But, according to a report in the Globe and Mail, the higher upfront costs should be recouped in a few years of operating the vehicles as trucks become more fuel efficient and reduce their consumption of high-priced diesel.
The new regulations – developed in concert with the U.S. – will target a range of heavy-duty trucks from one-ton pickups to the largest tractor-trailers. The two governments have already set emission regulations for light-duty vehicles until 2016, and are expected to issue new rules for post-2016 models in the coming year.
Environment Minister Peter Kent recently unveiled draft regulations that will reduce carbon dioxide emissions from new heavy-duty trucks by as much as 23% by the 2018 model year, when the new rules are fully in place.
The minister said the industry will also benefit from lower operating costs at a time when diesel fuel prices are projected to remain higher, and likely climb further.
“These regulations would not just help us take action on climate change – they would also help the trucking industry become more competitive,” Kent said.
In an interview, Kent said it is not yet clear how much the draft regulations will add to the cost of specific vehicles. But he said operators should be able to quickly recoup their higher sticker price from lower operating costs, in as quickly as one year for the heavy mileage trucks.
In the draft regulations posted on the Canada Gazette, Environment Canada estimated total cost of the new rules to be $800-million between 2014 and 2018, while benefits would be $5-billion, primarily from fuel savings.