April 12, 2004

New heavy-duty diesel emission standards take effect in Ontario

TORONTO, ONT-North America's strictest emission test standards for large diesel trucks and buses came into effect in Ontario on April 1, 2004. The standards were released in draft form for comment in January (ELW January 5, 2004). The heavy-duty diesel emissions standards will be tightened further, effective April 1, 2005. The 180,000 heavy-duty diesel vehicles registered in Ontario emit more than 50% of the particulate matter from transportation sources. As a part of the Drive Clean program, the new standards will ensure that these vehicles are operating more cleanly.

The Ministry of Environment (MOE) has stated that no immediate changes will be made to the structure of the Drive Clean program. When the program began, a full formal review was scheduled for 2006/2007. A recent independent analysis of the program determined that it had reduced particulate matter (PM) from heavy-duty diesel vehicles registered in Ontario by nearly 1,100 tonnes from 2000 through 2002, almost twice the program target of 660 tonnes. The latest initiative also includes stringent standards for large diesel school buses, as well as an incentive plan for owners and operators of heavy-duty diesel vehicles that surpass the tough new emissions standards. In addition, the MOE is consulting partners and stakeholders in the development of a strategy to encourage heavy-duty truck and bus operators to reduce vehicle idling.

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