08/09/2011 06:34 EDT | Updated 10/09/2011 05:12 EDT

Heavy-Duty Emissions Rules Outlines By Canada And The US

OTTAWA - Canada plans to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from on-road heavy-duty vehicles starting with the 2014 model year.

The move, outlined in a consultation paper released today, is being planned with the U.S. government for a North America-wide approach to fuel standards.

Environment Minister Peter Kent says the rules for heavy-duty vehicles will build on Canada's collaboration with the U.S. on developing common emissions standards for light-duty vehicles.

It's all part of a federal goal to reduce Canada's total greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent from 2005 levels by the year 2020.

The latest proposed regulations seek to reduce emissions and improve the fuel efficiency of all new heavy-duty vehicles, ranging from full-size pick-up trucks and tractor-trailers to garbage trucks and buses.

The rules also promote the implementation of hybrid and electric vehicles.

The government is receiving early comments on the consultation paper before the proposed regulations are published in the Canada Gazette in early 2012. At that point, the rules will be open to a 60-day comment period.

The Harper government has already finalized regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles and has also mandated a requirement for an average of five per cent renewable content in gas and two per cent content for diesel and heating oil.

"We are moving forward with our sector by sector approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in co-ordination with the United States," Kent said in a statement released Tuesday.

The White House has said the heavy-duty vehicle standards will save businesses billions in fuel costs, help reduce oil consumption and cut air pollution.

U.S. officials also stressed that the cost of making the vehicles more fuel efficient would be recouped through reduced fuel costs over their lifetimes.

The new regulations would apply to the makers and importers of the vehicles. They would prescribe standards starting with the 2014 model year and become progressively more stringent up to the 2018 model-year.

Three categories of vehicles are affected — heavy-duty trucks and vans, combination tractors and vocational vehicles like delivery trucks and transit buses.

The big rigs or semis will have to slash fuel consumption and production of heat-trapping gases by up to 23 per cent. Gasoline-powered heavy-duty pickups and vans will have to cut consumption by 10 per cent, or by 15 per cent if the vehicles run on diesel fuel.

The standards also prescribe a nine per cent reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions for vocational vehicles.

with files from the Associated Press.