Work begins on Canada’s next truck emissions standards and targets

Work on Canada’s next round of vehicle emissions standards is now officially underway, with a related discussion paper formally launched by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).

Written comments are being collected until Jan. 21.

The federal government has already committed to building on heavy-duty vehicle emissions standards for post-2025 vehicles, and regulators are following California in a bid to have many categories of new medium- and heavy-duty vehicles generating zero emissions by 2040.

California’s Advanced Clean Trucks Act will by 2024 see electric vehicles account for 5-9% of heavy-duty vehicle sales depending on the class, and 30-50% of sales by 2030. After 2035, the percentages will rise to 40-75%.

“The purpose of this discussion paper is to begin consultations and solicit comments on the federal approach to further reducing emissions from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles in Canada consistent with Canada’s emissions reduction targets of a 40% to 45% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels and reaching net zero emissions by 2050,” wrote Stephane Couroux, director of the transportation division at the environmental protection branch of ECCC.

“In addition, the government is seeking input on how to encourage early adoption of [heavy-duty zero-emission vehicles] and the near-term opportunities to reduce emissions from the current fleet of [heavy-duty vehicles] during this transition.”

Tailpipe emissions from the transportation sector account for 25% of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions. And despite ever-tougher regulations, heavy-duty vehicle emissions continue to rise with the number of such vehicles on the road, the discussion paper notes.

The number of on-road heavy-duty vehicles has grown 57% since 2005. There are more than 2 million heavy-duty vehicles on Canadian roads, growing about 2% per year. But the market penetration of zero-emission versions is growing at a “much slower rate” than light-duty options.

Canada’s heavy-duty vehicle and engine greenhouse gas emission regulations align with those established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That agency’s Clean Trucks Plan will introduce two rulemakings over the next three years.

The first rule to be finalized next year will set new standards for criteria pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions in certain heavy-duty vehicles beginning in 2027. A second rule to be finalized in 2024 will establish tougher greenhouse gas emissions standards for new heavy-duty vehicles in Model Year 2030 and beyond.