May 16, 2005

Quebec introduces emission regulation for heavy-duty vehicles

Thomas Mulcair, Quebec Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, last week announced the publication of a draft regulation, under the Environmental Quality Act, setting emission limits for heavy-duty vehicles. The regulation was published in the May 11, 2005 Gazette officielle du QuÈbec for a 60-day comment period.

The implementation of an inspection and maintenance program for heavy-duty vehicles will reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by some 82,000 tonnes per year, the minister stated.

Although the 130,000 heavy-duty vehicles currently on the road in Quebec make up only 3% of the provincial fleet, they emit nearly half the pollutant emissions attributable to road transportation. Moreover, notes the government, 90% of heavy-duty vehicles run on diesel fuel, and the fine particulate matter emitted by their diesel engines are a toxic substance posing a public health hazard.

For this reason, and because these vehicles are the source of 75% of inhalable particles from the road transportation sector, the provincial government has assigned priority to controlling emissions from heavy-duty vehicles. It is estimated that, due to mechanical defects or inadequate maintenance, between 15,000 and 18,000 of these vehicles are emitting pollutants at levels exceeding acceptable standards in provinces and U.S. states where an inspection and maintenance program is in effect.

Compliance by heavy-duty vehicles with the regulatory limits will be verified by inspection agents of the Quebec Automobile Insurance Corporation (SociÈtÈ de l'assurance automobile QuÈbec) using certified testing equipment.

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