March 23, 2007

Federal budget “misses the mark” on greenhouse gas emissions, say industry representatives

Ottawa, Ontario – The Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA), Car Care Canada, and representatives of the automotive aftermarket industry say they are concerned that although environmental initiatives in the Federal Budget “are a step in the right direction, they do not address a large enough segment of the vehicle fleet in Canada and will fail to reduce fuel consumption and lower emissions in the immediate and short term,” they said in a release.

The budget includes incentives to the public to retire 1995 and older vehicles and to buy new emissions-friendly vehicles. But the industry representatives say while the decision to spend $36 million to retire older vehicles sounds impressive, if the example of an incentive of $1,000 per vehicle returned is used, it only takes 3,600 cars off the road, which likely would have been retired anyway. The groups say that consequently, the retirement of older vehicles does not represent a large savings in greenhouse gas emissions, and that the $2,000 purchase incentive for high-efficiency vehicles, combined with the $4,000 levy on low-efficiency vehicles, represent only five per cent of vehicles being sold today, and do not factor in solutions for the other 16 million vehicles on the road, or the fact that even new, high-efficiency vehicles need to be properly maintained to continue to be fuel efficient.

“The average car on the road in Canada is over eight years old,” says Marc Brazeau, Executive Vice-President of Car Care Canada. “Most Canadians cannot afford to buy a new car every few years, and a few thousand dollars in rebates won’t convince people to make the switch. What people can do is take better care of the car they currently drive. A properly-maintained vehicle can help the environment by using less fuel, plus it runs more efficiently and economically, is safer, and will last substantially longer. It provides an immediate environmental benefit and costs Canadians much less. We believe it’s a more realistic approach.”

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