Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Canadian truckers oppose biodiesel mandates

Truckers want limits on biodiesel

Published On Mon May 30 2011
Dana Flavelle Business Reporter
Canadian truckers say new biofuel requirements for diesel that come into effect July 1 will cost taxpayers $2.5 billion over the next 25 years and do little to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Similar to earlier legislation that required fuel makers to add ethanol to gasoline, Ottawa will require diesel fuel to contain an average of 2 per cent biofuel materials.
But with sources of biofuels, such as canola oil, fetching record high prices, the Canadian Trucking Alliance says it fears the new mandate could mean even higher prices at the pumps.
Combined with reduced fuel efficiency, the net cost of adding biofuels to diesel would be $2.5 billion over 25 years, the truckers said, citing a regulatory impact study by Environment Canada.
"We're not opposed to renewable fuel as long as it works in our engines and doesn't cost us more than diesel," said David Bradley, president and chief executive officer of the 4,500 member Canadian Trucking Alliance.
Most busses and some cars also use diesel fuel in North America.
The biofuel industry disputes the truckers' views. Citing the impact of adding ethanol to gasoline, the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association said it has helped keep prices down, reduced Canada's dependence on imported oil and provided employment in rural areas.
"Canadians are legitimately concerned about where the price of fuel is going," said Gordon Quaiattini, president of the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association. But consumers would be paying "dramatically higher amounts" for gasoline without ethanol, he said.
The biofuel industry also dismissed growing concerns about the impact of rising ethanol demand on food prices. The main source of ethanol is corn.
It laid the blame for rising food costs on higher oil, saying the two have always been linked. The solution to hunger in third world countries is stronger agricultural policies, not less biofuel, the industry also said.
In Canada, investors are just waiting for the right signal to begin pouring money into the biodiesel market here, the renewable fuels association said.
Since last December, when Ottawa mandated 10 per cent ethanol in gasoline, some 28 ethanol and biodiesel plants have opened across the country.
They can currently meet up to a third of the country's biodiesel needs, the association said.
While the biodiesel mandate comes into effect July 1, users have until the end of 2012 to comply, the biofuel industry also noted.
The truckers want Ottawa to modify the mandate to suspend the 2 per cent requirement whenever biodiesel fuel is in short supply, thus limiting potential price spikes.
They also want the regulations to limit the total amount of biodiesel that can be added at any one time to 5 per cent or less, saying higher amounts could result in engine damage not covered by manufacturers' warranties.
Biodiesel fuel comes from vegetable oils, waste cooking oil and animal fats, according to Natural Resources Canada. Tailpipe emissions from biodiesel are only slightly lower than from regular diesel.
But the production of biodiesel fuel, from the seed to the pump, produces an estimated 80 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than regular diesel fuel from petroleum.
Some types of biodiesel fuel freeze at low temperatures.


[Highlighting added. The CTA has been objecting for some time.]

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Biofuels are a wide range of fuels which are in some way derived from biomass.

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