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Environmental Protection & Preservation

Environmental Truck Convoy Calls Upon Federal Support for Smog-Free, Reduced GHG Tractor-Trailers

With Parliament Hill serving as the backdrop, and federal government officials and representatives of the US Environmental Protection Agency on-hand, a convoy of smog-free, greenhouse gas-fighting tractor-trailer units, converged on the nation's capital region today. The convoy is part of the Canadian Trucking Alliance's effort to inform citizens and get federal politicians behind an initiative it is calling enviroTruck, which is aimed at accelerating the penetration of environmentally friendly vehicles into the Canadian truck fleet.

"I applaud the Canadian Trucking Alliance for its enviroTruck initiative, which continues supporting the increased investment in environmental technology and add-on devices for the freight industry," said Sheila Batka, Environmental Scientist, US Environmental Protection Agency.

"The concept showing Canadians the advances in truck technologies for energy efficiencies is another example of CTA's commitment to its Memorandum of Understanding with the department. NRCan looks forward to continuing to work with the CTA," said Bob Smith, Chief, ecoENERGY for Fleets, Natural Resources Canada.

"Current government environmental policy and regulation of trucks deals with only one side of the equation and that is clean air," says David Bradley, CEO of the trucking alliance. He went on to say that in introducing new standards for truck engine emissions smog emissions from trucks will be 'virtually eliminated' by 2010, but that an unintended consequence of this will be to impair the industry's fuel efficiency, and therefore its GHG performance. Today's enviroTruck event included a white handkerchief test which Bradley says shows that the exhaust from the new engines is cleaner than the air in most Canadian cities.

"It's an odd situation, but as it stands now, the cleaner the trucks get from an air quality perspective, the worse they are from a GHG perspective. That is the reality," he said. "What we are proposing is a practical, integrated and coordinated initiative involving trucking companies, truck and trailer manufacturers and the federal government to get the best of both worlds - eliminating smog and reducing GHG's from trucks by marrying the best available technology and providing incentives to encourage quicker adoption." Bradley says the kinds of proven fuel saving technologies and add-on devices that would qualify under the enviroTruck program are anti-idling devices (auxiliary power units), tractor and trailer aerodynamic fairings, and low resistance tires.

"Combine those technologies with the new smog-free engines; require those applying for the incentives to activate the speed limiters on those engines at a maximum speed of no more than 105 km/hr and you have an enviroTruck," he said. "It's an approach similar to the Energy Star program that has been so successful in getting people to switch to more energy efficient household appliances, or the recently announced program of rebates for the purchase of fuel efficient cars."

CTA also released a study today by Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a well-respected US not-for-profit research firm with a track record on environmental technology that validates CTA's claims. The study shows that if the entire Canadian fleet of 294,000 Class-8 trucks were to adopt a full package of energy-efficiency technologies, Canadian truck owners and operators would save 4.1 billion litres of fuel and reduce emissions by 11,500,000 tonnes of GHG each year. This is equivalent to taking 64,000 Class-8 trucks off the road or taking 2.6 million cars off the road. A full copy of the report is available on both the CTA and RMI website.

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