Canada pumps brakes on trailer emissions rule once again

June 11, 2020

Greg Grisolano


Canada’s government is once again delaying new greenhouse gas emissions standards for trailers. The rules were supposed to be implemented in January. The fate of the rulemaking has been in flux since a trade group representing trailer manufacturers filed a federal lawsuit in the United States arguing that emissions standards shouldn’t apply to trailers.

According to a notice published in the Canada Gazette on June 6, the rules are being suspended for one year or until the latest ruling is repealed. The rules would be the first-ever attempt to regulate emissions from trailers.

The Truck Trailer Manufacturer’s Association filed the lawsuit, claiming that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has no authority over trailers and that trailers by themselves are not “vehicles” and cannot produce emissions.

Last month, several environmental groups weighed in to support the new emissions standards, which could potentially include aerodynamic upgrades, low-rolling-resistance tires, and tire inflation systems be added to trailers.

The lawsuit is the latest chapter in an ongoing attempt to regulate trailers under Greenhouse Gas Emissions standards. In 2011, the EPA and NHTSA expressed their intent to set emissions standards for both tractors and trailers. The agencies initially issued standards that applied to tractor cabs only. Updated standards for model year 2018 and newer heavy-duty vehicles were the first to include trailers.

Regulations apply to four types of trailers: box trailers, tank trailers, flatbed trailers and container chassis. Compliance phases in over a period of nine years with certain flexibilities. The standards do not dictate exactly what manufacturers have to do to comply. As long as trailers hit a set target regarding grams of carbon dioxide per ton-mile, they are legal.

An appeals court blocked the implementation of the U.S. rules in 2017. A federal appeals court judge gave the greenlight for the lawsuit to proceed in January of this year.

Greg Grisolano

Greg Grisolano joined Land Line in 2013. He was formerly a reporter for the Joplin Globe. He brings business writing and photography skills to Land Line, and has a passion for finding and telling stories about the people who make up the trucking industry.