Toronto, Ontario – The poor quality of Canadian gas and diesel is having a negative effect on tailpipe emissions and overall fuel consumption, according to a new report commissioned by the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers of Canada (AIAMC). The report shows that fuel economy and vehicle emissions are inextricably linked to fuel quality.

According to the report, Canada is lagging behind best practices in sulphur and detergency in gasoline, and other elements in diesel.

“All Canadians want to save money when they fill up at the pumps, and they want to see reduced fuel consumption and decreased greenhouse emissions,” said John White, AIAMC chairman, and president and CEO of Volkswagen Group Canada. “Vehicle manufacturers are engineering improvements, but we can’t do it alone. No question, we need better fuel quality in this country just to bring us to the levels utilized in other jurisdictions around the world.”

The report, Fuel Quality in Canada: Impact on Tailpipe Emissions, identifies opportunities to improve fuel quality, investigates fuel quality characteristics, and examines the effects of fuel on the performance of motor vehicles.

“One year ago, the federal government announced it would be setting aggressive standards for vehicle manufacturers by regulating fuel consumption of new motor vehicles,” White said. “The reality is improved fuel quality can assist vehicle manufacturers to better meet fuel consumption targets, and will further improve the emissions of the 18 million vehicles on the road today.”

The report said that “lean-burn” engine technologies could result in fuel economy improvements of up to 15 per cent, but gasoline currently contains too much sulphur, and Canadians are not experiencing the economic and environmental benefits of these technologies. It further said that several international jurisdictions have already recognized fuel quality as a critical pillar in emissions and fuel consumption reduction strategies, including the European Union, Australia and Japan, but identifies Canada has having amongst the fewest mandatory requirements for fuel quality, combined with weak monitoring and enforcement practices.

However, in a separate release, the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute (CPPI) criticized the report, saying that Canadians enjoy some of the highest fuel quality choices in the world, and that the report is selective in the data used to support the conclusions, and is biased and subjective in its proposed approach to emissions standards.

“This report unfairly casts doubt on the good work of fuel providers, public servants and the cooperation mechanisms already in place with automakers,” said CPPI president Peter Boag. “CPPI has in place collaborative processes specifically to ensure that automakers, fuel providers and government are working together in the interest of Canadians. If I follow the logic of the AIAMC paper, what’s good for Australia is good for Canada, and on a January winter morning, Australia is clearly not Canada.”

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