Federal

Canada should explore stronger vehicle standards to cut pollution and enhance competitiveness

VICTORIA — Dan Woynillowicz, policy director at Clean Energy Canada, made the following statement in response to the federal government’s review of vehicle emission standards:

“It’s in Canadians’ best interest that our federal government review vehicle emission standards, especially in light of Donald Trump’s proposed rollback. Sticking with the current rules would ensure Canadian drivers benefit from $900 a year in fuel cost savings—while helping cut pollution.

“But we should also explore whether Trump’s rollback creates an opportunity to achieve even more in Canada, positioning our auto sector to compete as the rest of the world shifts to cleaner cars. We should consider even stronger rules and other initiatives to carve out a competitive advantage as the U.S. sector moves backward.

“More efficient, cleaner vehicles are creating jobs for Canadians—that’s why most auto suppliers support the standards. Last year Linamar, the second largest Canadian auto parts manufacturer, had record sales and earnings, driven in part by a huge contract to produce axles for electric vehicles.

“If you look around the world, it’s clear that hybrid and electric vehicles are set to become the new norm. Car companies in Germany and China are racing toward that fast-approaching future. Countries like the U.K. and France, meanwhile, are banning gas- and diesel-powered vehicles within a couple of decades.

“We now have an opportunity to ensure the right signals are sent to the Canadian auto sector—an opportunity to ensure we thrive in the years to come.”

KEY FACTS

  • When the current standards were adopted in 2012 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government, it was noted that:

    • 2025 vehicles will consume up to 50% less fuel than 2008 vehicles.

    • on average, a Canadian driving a model year 2025 vehicle will realize fuel savings of around $900 per year compared to driving a 2012 model vehicle.

    • 2025 model year vehicles will emit close to 50% less greenhouse gas pollution than 2008 vehicles.

  • The 2012 regulatory impact analysis found that while a more fuel-efficient vehicle would likely have a slightly higher sticker price at the dealership, drivers would break even after two years, beyond which they would continue to benefit from lower fueling costs.

  • A majority of U.S. auto suppliers back the current standards, and the head of the Canadian Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association has signalled concern with a potential rollback, stating, “We have been investing hundreds of billions of dollars in lightweighting and also alternative propulsion…. If that standard is lowered, at this late stage, in some cases, it threatens to strand some of that advanced research and development spending.”