Natural Resources Canada (NRC)an agency similar to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)is exploring the possibility of developing a fuel-efficiency-labeling program for truck tires similar to the EPA's SmartWay system of identifying energy-efficient trucks and truck components.
NRC is surveying trucking fleets across Canada, with the assistance of the Canadian Trucking Association (CTA), the Private Motor Trucking Council of Canada and the Owner-Operators Business Council of Canada, to determine fleets' buying habits.
The goal, according to NRC, is to develop an Energy Star type tire recognition system for heavy vehicles to address the lack of information identified by trucking industry representatives on the energy efficiency of tires. Jurisdictions in Canada could use the system to promote tires that have the lowest rolling resistance.
NRC said it is coordinating the research on behalf of a federal/provincial/territorial working group on transportation energy efficiency, in support of the objectives of Canada's Council of Energy Ministers. The council emphasized this would be a voluntary recognition system, meaning participation by tire manufacturers is by choice.
In announcing the study, NRC noted improved tire technology can help reduce the trucking sector's carbon footprint through enhanced fuel efficiency.
Among the questions NRC is asking fleets are:
* How and where they purchase tires;
* Features they look for in a tire for both tractors and trailers;
* Issues regarding retreaded tires;
* How they manage the purchasing and maintenance of tires;
* Experiences with single and fuel-efficient tires;
* Awareness of SmartWay and other labeling programs, etc.
This is an important opportunity for the industry to educate government on our sector, said David Bradley, CEO of the CTA. The creation of a tire-labeling program, in and of itself, is helpful to the industry but it would also be beneficial to the possible introduction of a rebate system based on this labeling program.
Carriers participating in the survey are assured of anonymity, the CTA said, as all results will be reported to the government in aggregate form. Closing date for the survey, which is being conducted online, is March 31.
NRC anticipates completing its research by spring 2011 but has announced no implementation date. Once the research has been gathered, expert panels will be convened to advise on the final design.
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