Consulting report

Analysis of heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency technology uptake in California and Canada

This study analyzes policies that California, the United States, and Canada have enacted to promote reduced GHG emissions from heavy-duty trucks, how these policies have impacted technology deployment, and lessons that Canada can take as it evaluates policy options to accelerate the deployment of fuel- and GHG-reduction technologies in its trucking fleet.

The analysis shows that California stands apart in three key policy areas: 1) regulation for trucking fleets that requires the use of tractor-trailer efficiency technologies, 2) regulations that will require the sales and purchase of zero-emission commercial trucks, and 3) incentive and financing programs to support the adoption of fuel-saving and electrification technologies. As a result of these policies, the analysis from this study suggests that trailers operating in California have higher adoption rates of aerodynamic devices. In addition, in the nascent zero-emission heavy-duty vehicle market, California represents 42% of zero-emission buses and trucks sold in the United States and Canada.

This study suggests that a regulatory program aimed at increasing the uptake of tractor-trailer efficiency technologies in Canada could provide significant fuel use and GHG emissions benefits while yielding an attractive return on investment for trucking fleets. To best realize these environmental and economic benefits, the federal government can continue its engagement across of diversity of public and private stakeholder groups with the aim of crafting a regulatory program that is designed to take into account the unique aspects of Canada’s trucking industry, geography, and climate. Ongoing outreach to support the development of an in-use fleet regulation also presents opportunities to solicit feedback about some of the other critical issues facing the sector, including electrification, vehicle automation, driver shortages, and the evolving freight and logistics landscape resulting from COVID-19 impacts.