Tests conducted last summer with roadside sensors used ultraviolet and infrared equipment to measure contaminants from diesel trucks as they drove by.

Tests build case to curb dirtiest diesel trucks: Metro

Truckers argue no need for costly new AirCare-like program

Although the trucking industry has become progressively cleaner, the dirtiest diesels on the road are much heavier polluters than the average big rig.

That’s the conclusion of new research that Metro Vancouver says underscores the need for new ways to curb the worst offenders.

Metro used roadside sensors on a parked trailer to test the exhaust from nearly 12,000 trucks, buses and other heavy-duty equipment last summer.

Emission standards have been tightened steadily over the years and older trucks account for a disproportionate share of the industry’s emissions.

But the testing found “gross emitters” – the worst 10 per cent of trucks in each age group – release four to five times more nitrogen oxides and diesel soot than a typical truck of the same age and 11 times more carbon monoxide.

“Identifying these high emitters may be worth considering,” said Metro air quality planner Eve Hou.

She said emission control systems on those bad belchers may have been tampered with or failed.

Regional politicians have pushed for years to create an AirCare-like program to target heavy trucks and the province last year agreed to consider the idea, after announcing it will wind down AirCare for regular cars.

Metro is sending the test results to Victoria and plans to work with the province over the next two years to flesh out potential options for an diesel testing program.

Emissions of soot, or fine diesel particulate, are estimated to be responsible for two-thirds of the lifetime cancer risk from air pollution in Metro Vancouver.

Metro says the testing system tried last year appears to be a viable measurement method with minimal inconvenience to truckers.

It’s also able to detect high emission levels that don’t necessarily produce a visible smoke plume.

Other options that could be considered are programs to scrap old trucks or mandatory retrofit requirements, possibly coupled with incentives and fees.

Less enthusiastic about new rules and costs is the B.C. Trucking Association, which says a new AirCare program for trucks would be unnecessary and wasteful.

“A large-scale AirCare-like emissions testing program for trucks would impose unreasonable costs on the industry and produce very limited results,” president Louise Yako said.

She said an Ontario testing program found fewer than four per cent of trucks there fail.

The BCTA estimates 35 per cent of heavy-duty trucks in B.C. are now 2007 or newer models – with extremely low emissions – and they will make up 52 per cent of the provincial fleet by 2015 and 63 per cent by 2017.

“As older trucks are retired and replaced with newer, cleaner trucks, diesel emissions will naturally decline over time, making an onerous and expensive testing program unnecessary,” Yako said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Community Camera: September 24, 2020

Submit your photos to news@ahobserver.com.

Chilliwack’s Gary Robbins maps out epic trail across eight mountains

Robbins spent nearly 40 hours covering 110 miles and over 10,000 metres of elevation gain

PHOTOS: From corn kernels comes an Agassiz king

Nathan Hertgers is the 2020 Corn King

Missing Chilliwack man not seen for eight days

Bruce James Madill last known location was on Paula Crescent on Sept. 16

Rivers could rise rapidly as heavy rains hit Lower Mainland

Larger rivers to reach peak levels on Thursday or into Friday, according to high streamflow advisory

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Mounties cleared by watchdog in fatal shooting of man with schizophrenia in Maple Ridge

Kyaw Din was killed by the RCMP during a mental health incident in August 2019

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

Penticton woman sentenced to one year in prison for manslaughter of teen boyfriend

Kiera Bourque, 24, was sentenced for manslaughter in the 2017 death of Penticton’s Devon Blackmore

Most Read