Fighting the Mandate Up North

Canadian Trucking Association opposes Canada’s renewable fuel requirements
By Erin Voegele | May 12, 2011

The Canadian Trucking Alliance is speaking out against the 2 percent renewable fuel standard for biodiesel that is set to come into force July 1. According to the CTA, the mandate could cost Canadians $2.5 billion over the next 25 years and create a wide variety of problems related to fuel handling and vehicle operability. The Canadian Renewable Fuels Association has responded to the data released by CTA by accusing the organization of “misleading Canadians.” CTA, in turn, has accused the CRFA of being “clearly defensive.”


Biodiesel Magazine spoke with the CTA in April to learn more about their concerns and how their issues with the renewable fuel standard might be overcome. According to Stephen Laskowski, CTA vice president of economic affairs, it is necessary to clarify that Canada’s mandate is not for B2, it is for an average of 2 percent renewable content in biodiesel. “One of the pressing concerns CTA has with the averaging of B2 means that currently the way the regulation is proposed, we’re going to see B5 blends and we are also going to see…the availability of product that is above B5, which is out of the warrantee ranges of most vehicles on the road,” he says. “I think your readers need to understand that this is not a B2 mandate. In fact, if it was a B2 mandate, it would be a lot clearer and a lot easier to deal with.


Regarding a biodiesel mandate, Laskowski says that the CTA wants to see elements such as quality assurance programs, manufacturing assurances, infrastructure assurances and price control measures. He notes that Canada currently doesn’t have its own quality standard for biofuel production. A nationwide quality standard for the fuel needs to be developed, he continues.


Price is also a primary concern. “We are not willing to pay more for this product,” Laskowski says, noting that the CTA knows biodiesel will cost truckers more and add unnecessary complications into the industry’s operations. “Basically [they] are asking the trucking industry to subsidize biofuel producers, and we’re not interested,” he continued.


CTA also questions the results of the National Renewable Diesel Demonstration Initiative study that was completed by Natural Resources Canada. The study found virtually no operability issues with low blends of biodiesel, such as B2 and B5. The vast majority of issues that were attributed to the use of B20 during winter, which resulted in some filter plugging and cold flow issues.


According to Laskowski, CTA was involved in the NRDDI study and questions it’s applicability to real-world trucking operations. “It was a very controlled experiment,” he says. “Carriers were specifically selected, and they were educated to deal with this product. Most importantly, the fuel that was sourced was highly screened and controlled. What the study showed is if we do everything right, including fuel standards and educating carriers, etc., that operationally this could work in the winter. We do not have those assurances now.”

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