The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) is welcoming news that the province will revamp its emissions control program for heavy-duty trucks.
On Sept. 28, the province announced it would cancel the Drive Clean Program, which required passenger vehicles older than seven years to pass an emissions test before drivers could renew their registration and licence plates. Scrapping the program, which takes effect April 1, 2019, is estimated to save drivers $40 million annually.
Instead, the province said it would focus its efforts on heavy-duty vehicles like commercial transport trucks.
Though emissions from light-duty vehicles have reduced since Drive Clean was introduced in 1999, the province said emissions from heavy-duty vehicles have not decreased as rapidly, “in part due to less stringent vehicle emission standards, and a slower replacement rate of older, higher emission vehicles.”
A policy proposal outlining the changes to the heavy-duty truck emissions policy is currently posted on the Ontario Environmental Registry at ero.ontario.ca/notice/013-3867. The public has 30 days to offer input into the new policy, including into the redesign of the heavy-duty program.
Proposed changes to the program include:
- a mandatory test of a vehicle’s on board diagnostic (OBD) computer-based emissions controls;
- reviewing the appropriate vehicle test age and test frequency;
- reviewing the test standard for visible emissions opacity;
- increased enforcement of existing anti-tampering restrictions with regard to emission control systems that are in current regulations; and
- providing incentives to industry who consistently demonstrate cleaner fleets.
The OTA noted that the industry has invested billions of dollars in capital and operating expenses since 2000 to adopt technology that eliminates particulates and smog-causing emissions.
Current polluters comprise “a small segment of non-compliant operators that use certain aftermarket products, often referred to as delete kits, to circumvent environmental controls,” the OTA said in an Oct. 1 news release.
“Getting this technology out of our industry would be a significant victory for competitive fairness,” OTA president Stephen Laskowski said in the release.
“OTA looks forward to working with the Ministry of Environment on tackling this important issue through the development of an effective program that levels the playing field without introducing an unnecessary regulatory burden for the vast majority of compliant carriers.”