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Backgrounder

Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Light-Duty Vehicles (2017-2025)

As the transportation sector accounts for about 24% of Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, any significant strategy to address GHGs must take serious action to address on-road emissions.

The proposed Regulations Amending the Passenger Automobile and Light Truck Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations will establish progressively more stringent GHG emission standards for the 2017 to 2025 model years of Canadian vehicles. These proposed regulations build on the existing regulations covering model years 2011 through 2016.

For model years 2017 to 2025, cars will be required to achieve, on average, 5% annual reductions in GHG emissions. As light trucks are typically used by farmers and construction workers, it is equally important that these vehicles can perform the work they are required to do. To that end, the proposed regulations provide short-term relief in the form of less-aggressive annual reductions. Consequently, light trucks will be required to achieve, on average, 3.5% annual GHG emission reductions from model year 2017 to 2021 and 5% reductions from 2022 to 2025. This will give time for companies to find technological solutions that lead to reduced emissions without affecting the utility of their trucks.

With these regulations, it is projected that 2025 vehicles will consume up to 50% less fuel than 2008 vehicles—leading to significant savings at the pump. On average, a Canadian driving a model year 2025 vehicle will realize fuel savings of around $900 per year compared to driving today’s new vehicles. It is also estimated that 2025 model year vehicles will emit close to 50% less GHGs than 2008 vehicles.

Other actions taken by the Government of Canada to reduce GHG Emissions

The Government of Canada is taking a sector-by-sector approach to reducing GHG emissions. The Government has already taken action on two of Canada’s largest sources of emissions—transportation and electricity.

In April 2012, the Government of Canada released proposed on-road heavy-duty vehicle GHG emissions regulations for the 2014 and later model years, aligning with the mandatory national standards of the United States.

In September 2012, the Government released final regulations to reduce emissions from the coal-fired electricity sector which will apply a stringent performance standard to new coal-fired electricity generation units and units that have reached the end of their economic life.

The Government is also in discussions with the provinces, territories and industry on the development of GHG emissions regulations for the oil and gas sector.

This approach is working. Canada is halfway there in its national effort to meet its Copenhagen target to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by 17% from 2005 levels by 2020. The combined efforts to date of federal, provincial and territorial governments, of consumers, and of businesses will generate half the GHG reduction required to meet Canada’s GHG target for 2020.