While the list of regulatory “sticks” from the states is long and growing longer for idling, Canada has been busy crafting a number of “carrot” programs to reward fleets and owner-operators for turning off their truck engines. Three separate programs address the problem from three different perspectives: onboard idle reduction equipment, truck stops and emissions reduction research.
On August 12, 2003, Canada’s prime minister announced the launch of a new program designed to provide commercial truck fleets and owner-operators with rebates for installing approved idle reduction equipment. “The program is part of a $1 billion package to address the climate change issue,” says Linda Harvey, senior program manager for FleetSmart, a voluntary program administered by Natural Resources Canada to assist fleets in reducing their fuel usage. “Effective today, fleets can receive 19 percent off the unit price of approved heaters, air-conditioning units, and auxiliary power systems designed to replace engine idling. The maximum rebate for an auxiliary power unit is $1,400 and the maximum for heater and air-conditioner systems is $350.
“The program is open only to Canadian fleets, but the equipment may be sourced from outside Canada, she adds. “We have funding for at least two years and we hope it will go beyond that.”
Another project, this one to encourage truck stops to become “Idle-Free Quiet Zones,” is in its second year, according Harvey. “This year, the Idle-Free campaign will run from mid-October to December 19, 2003,” Harvey says. Fifty-three truck stops have already signed up to participate.
“Basically, the stops will display Idle-Free Quiet Zone” banners and share information about reducing idling while drivers will have the opportunity to experience for themselves the benefits of a quiet, idle-free truck stop environment,” she explains. “By the time the pilot program ended last year, more drivers were saying to us, ‘It’s about time somebody did something like this.’”
Finally, another Transport Canada/Natural Resources Canada program recently put $4.5 million in financing out for tender for project proposals to demonstrate ways in which Canada can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The five-year program is called the Freight Efficiency and Technology Initiative, notes Harvey, and any company, including commercial truck fleets, is eligible to apply for $250,000 in matching funds under the terms of the project. Details and an application form are available on the FleetSmart website.
According to John Dennehy, vice president of marketing for Espar Heating Systems, the company’s “Greenhouse Gas Reduction through Idle Reduction” proposal was accepted for funding and work will begin this fall. A number of Canadian fleets will be participating with Espar through 2003-2004 to gather data for Transport Canada on the reductions in idle time (and, hence, the reduction in total emissions) achieved by using the company’s Airtronic Bunk Heater and Hydronic 5 Engine Pre-heater, Dennehy notes.
Canada’s take-action approach to reducing idling is good news for fleets, drivers and the environment. “Since Canada Signed the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gases, we have seen a number of new emission-reduction programs,” explains Mengo McCall, western regional sales manager for Teleflex Canada, supplier of the ProHeat Gen 4 auxiliary power and climate control system. We are very optimistic about the future.” “We are at the crest of a wave of change concerning engine idling practices,” agrees Dennehy. “The incredible work being done today by government agencies in Canada and the U.S. is helping to create new momentum, to encourage the trucking industry to trade idling for something better, and everyone stands to benefit.”