TORONTO, ONTARIO - Canada€™s Environment Minister Jim Prentice announced last week that Canada will lock in its fuel-efficiency standards to those set by the United States, the Globe & Mail reports. The new rules are expected to improve the average fuel efficiency of automobiles and light trucks sold in Canada by 25 percent in 2016 compared to 2008 levels.
As a result, Canadian cars will cost more€"as much as $1,000, according to some estimates€"to accommodate new features that reduce gasoline consumption. Prentice said that lower fuel bills would counter the higher upfront costs in as little as 18 months.
The new regulations mark a sharp turnaround for Canada€™s government, where just a few months ago, the federal Environment Minister criticized the Quebec government for "folly" in adopting the more aggressive automobile emission standards that were first proposed by California.
Prentice said that Ottawa and Washington would move this spring to propose fuel economy standards for larger trucks, too, which represent the fastest growing source of transportation emissions. Eventually, Canada will also regulate emissions from trains, ships, and commercial airliners.
Canada€™s transportation sector accounts for 25 percent of the country€™s greenhouse gas emissions, with passenger vehicles accounting for half of that total.
"Reducing emissions from those vehicles will take us a long way to meeting our climate-change goals," Prentice said.
NACS Daily€™s April 2 Washington Report noted that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) jointly issued final rules regulating the emissions standard for vehicles. By 2016, automakers must have an average fleet wide fuel economy of 34.1 miles per gallon. The Obama administration says this is aimed at increasing the production of clean energy cars, especially electric and hybrid cars.
Industry groups are taking issue with the involvement of the EPA. According to a statement released by the American Petroleum Institute: "Improving vehicle efficiency makes sense. It€™s a vital part of energy conservation. However, EPA joining DOT in this rule sets the nation on the disastrous course of Clean Air Act regulation of stationary source greenhouse gas emissions. The rule is not just about vehicle efficiency. It€™s about EPA overreaching to create an opportunity for regulating greenhouse gas emissions from virtually every firm and business in America, no matter how unwieldy, intrusive and burdensome such regulation might be."