Canada Joins U.S. in Setting Fuel Efficiency and Carbon Pollution Standards for Heavy Trucks

The Canadian government will mirror U.S. fuel efficiency and carbon pollution standards for heavy trucks, according to a joint U.S.-Canadian announcement today. The two-country collaboration in tightening vehicle standards builds on a record of success in cutting pollution and oil demand from transportation. Continued leadership by the U.S. and Canada can help accelerate global efforts to meet the climate commitments of Paris.

Cutting pollution from heavy trucks is an important strategy for addressing climate change because they are energy hogs on the highway. In the U.S., tractor-trailers, buses, delivery vans and other trucks emit 23 percent of carbon pollution from the transportation sector but account for only about 4 percent of the vehicles on the road.

Like the U.S., freight trucks in Canada have to haul goods over long distances. Using known and cost-effective technologies to improve engines, aerodynamics and tires can cut tractor-trailer fuel consumption and pollution by 40 percent. As a result, truckers save money at the pump, the goods we all buy are cheaper to deliver, and the environment gets cleaner - it's a win-win-win.

Strong fuel efficiency standards are already driving reductions in carbon pollution from vehicles. By 2030, the combined set of existing standards for cars, light trucks and heavy trucks along with the recently proposed Phase 2 heavy truck standards will cut U.S. carbon emissions by over 730 million metric tons, which is equivalent to the carbon dioxide emissions of 190 coal-fired power plants.

Importantly, vehicle efficiency and carbon pollution standards are also curbing our demand for oil. Within fifteen years, the car and truck standards are projected to reduce U.S. petroleum demand by over 3.7 million barrels per day compared to a future without standards.

Canada has long been a partner with the U.S. in advancing cleaner vehicles. Canada is implementing carbon pollution standards for cars and light trucks that are aligned with the U.S. target of 54.5 mpg by 2025. It has also adopted heavy truck standards similar to the U.S. 2014-2018 Phase 1 program. Environment Canada, the country's counterpart to EPA, has been supporting the development of the proposed Phase 2 heavy truck standards--particularly through vehicle aerodynamics testing--with the intention of adopting commensurate standards.

Final U.S. Phase 2 standards are expected this summer. NRDC has been urging the Obama Administration to tighten the rules to accelerate clean technology deployment and secure more carbon reductions.

The strengthened U.S.-Canada relationship demonstrated by this week's summit shows promise for further action to accelerate the transition to clean energy and protect our shared environment. In particular, the nations can act to protect the pristine Arctic. The oil savings that come from cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles reinforce the many reasons that drilling in the Arctic Ocean should be excluded from current and future offshore programs.

President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau should also leverage this shared vision to advance clean vehicles globally. Thanks to our clean vehicle standards, U.S. and Canadian manufacturers are technology leaders. Having climate-protective policies around the world can give another boost North American innovation and manufacturing. We can spur our economy and clean the environment at the same time.