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Discussion document
On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations

Updating Canada's Motorcycle Emission Standards to Align with New U.S. Rules

2. Background

2.1 The Federal Agenda on Cleaner Vehicles, Engines and Fuels

Air pollution is a serious problem in Canada and the combustion of fuels to power on-road vehicles is a major contributor to this problem, particularly in urban areas. Air pollution has major impacts on the environment and the health of Canadians. Health studies indicate that air pollution contributes to numerous adverse health impacts, including premature mortality. While emissions of some pollutants have declined over the past two decades, air pollution continues to be one of Canada's highest environmental priorities and challenges.

In the spring of 2000, Environment Canada initiated a process of consulting with a broad range of stakeholders to develop a plan for the further reduction of emissions resulting from the use of vehicles and engines. Following a thorough review and full consideration of stakeholder submissions and viewpoints, the federal Minister of the Environment published the Federal Agenda on Cleaner Vehicles, Engines and Fuels3. The Agenda set out a series of regulatory and non-regulatory measures to be developed and implemented over a ten-year period to reduce emissions from a broad range of on- road and off-road vehicles and engines and was developed in recognition that effective policies to reduce emissions must consider vehicle/engines and fuels as an integrated system.

The Federal Agenda on Cleaner Vehicles, Engines and Fuels contained two major regulatory initiatives to reduce emissions from on-road vehicles. First, the Agenda stated Environment Canada's intent to proceed with the development of regulations under Part 7 Division 5 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999), to align Canadian emission standards for on-road vehicles and engines with those of the United States (U.S.) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Second, as a complementary measure, Environment Canada stated its plan to adopt regulations to align with the final U.S. level and timing for more stringent sulphur limits for on-road diesel fuel.

Environment Canada fulfilled the two commitments with the publication of the On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations and the Sulphur in Diesel Fuel Regulations4 (i.e., maximum sulphur limit of 15 parts per million starting on June 1, 2006). Consistent with the Federal Agenda on Cleaner Vehicles, Engines and Fuels, Environment Canada is also moving forward to develop regulations for off-road vehicle and engine emission standards and to control the level of sulphur in off-road diesel fuel, in alignment with the U.S. standards.

2.2 The On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations

Effective January 1, 2004, the On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations introduced more stringent national emission standards for on-road vehicles and engines and a new regulatory framework under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999)5. The Regulations align Canadian emission standards with those of the U.S. EPA for light-duty passenger vehicles, light-duty trucks (such as vans, pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles), heavy-duty vehicles (such as heavy trucks and buses), and motorcycles and will result in significant emission reductions from the fleet of on- road vehicles in Canada6.

Given the progressive nature of U.S. federal emission standards and the highly integrated nature of the Canadian vehicle manufacturing industry, there has been broad stakeholder support with the policy of Canada/U.S. alignment of emission standards. This support was evidenced throughout the consultation process associated with the development of the Federal Agenda on Cleaner Vehicles, Engines and Fuel and the subsequent regulatory development process for vehicle emissions.

The On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations achieve the objective of alignment by incorporating by reference the current U.S. EPA emission standards. To the extent possible, the Regulations are structured in a manner that seeks to maintain alignment with the U.S. standards as they are updated in order to ensure that the specified standards are identical in both countries. This is consistent with the approach used in previous emission standards adopted under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

At the time the On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations were finalized, Environment Canada was aware that the U.S. EPA had initiated a rulemaking process to develop new more stringent emission standards for on-road motorcycles starting in the 2006 model year. This was acknowledged in the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS) that accompanied the publication of the Regulations. The RIAS further stated that once the new U.S. motorcycle emission standards were finalized, the Department "plans to review the final U.S. rule and take any necessary steps to ensure appropriate alignment with U.S. standards. This could include proposing amendments to the Regulations."

2.3 A Snapshot of the Canadian Motorcycle Market

In 2002, there were approximately 360,000 motorcycles and 23,000 mopeds registered for use on Canadian roads. In recent years, annual sales of new on-road motorcycles have increased steadily from approximately 35,000 to 49,000 between the years 2000 to 20037. Nonetheless, the market for on-road motorcycle remains small in comparison to the more than 17 million cars and light-duty trucks operating in Canada.

The vast majority of new motorcycles sold in Canada are imported and distributed by a relatively small number of companies that are members of the Motorcycle & Moped Industry Council (MMIC). In 2003, MMIC member companies accounted for over 99% of new motorcycles sales in Canada and approximately 90% of all (new and used) motorcycles imported into Canada. Brands of new motorcycles distributed by MMIC member companies include: Aprilia, BMW, Buell, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Suzuki, Triumph, Victory and Yamaha.

The main sources of new motorcycle imports to Canada are Japan, the United States, Taiwan, and countries of the European Union. Most models of new motorcycles sold in Canada are also marketed in the U.S. and are covered by U.S. EPA emission certification.

2.4 Air Pollution Contribution of On-Road Motorcycles in Canada

The contribution of motorcycles to the total emissions from on-road vehicles is summarized in Table 1.

Table 1: Emissions from On-Road Vehicles (2004- 2020)8
EmissionOn-Road Vehicle ClassTotal Emissions (kilotonnes)Percent Reduction

Significant emission reductions are forecast to occur from light vehicles (i.e., light-duty vehicles and light-duty trucks) and heavy-duty vehicles between the years 2004 and 2020, despite the increased vehicle kilometers travelled projected to occur for these classes of vehicles. The primary factor leading to these improvements is the introduction of significantly cleaner vehicles and engines in the Canadian fleet as emission standards become progressively tighter over the years.

Emission standards for on-road motorcycles have not changed for many years. Without changes, total emissions from motorcycles are projected to remain at the same level between 2004 and 2020. The percentage contribution of motorcycles to emissions from on-road vehicles will however increase between 2004 and 2020 from 0.6 to 1.0 for volatile organic compounds, 0.4 to 0.7 for carbon monoxide (CO) and 0.1 to 0.4 for oxides of nitrogen (NOx). These projections are based on the assumption that the total number of vehicle kilometres travelled for motorcycles will remain constant during this period. Given the trend of increased sales of new motorcycles in recent years, this may underestimate the emissions from motorcycles.

While total emissions from motorcycles are expected to remain considerably lower than the contribution of light and heavy-duty vehicles, motorcycle emissions can be an important source of air pollution given that these vehicles are often used in urban areas during periods of warm weather associated with the formation of ground-level ozone and smog.

3 Federal Agenda on Cleaner Vehicles, Engines and Fuels, Minister of the Environment, Canada Gazette Part I, February 17, 2001.

4 Sulphur in Diesel Fuel Regulations, Canada Gazette Part II, July 31, 2002, SOR/2002-254

5 Beginning in 1971, progressively more stringent emission standards have been promulgated for on-road vehicles under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, which is administered by Transport Canada. On March 31st, 2000, the legislative authority for controlling on-road vehicle emissions was transferred from the Motor Vehicle Safety Act to Environment Canada under the provisions of Part 7, Division 5 of CEPA 1999. The Regulations therefore replaced the emission regulations previously adopted under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, including the prior motorcycle emission standards adopted in 1997.

6 Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement for the On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations, Canada Gazette Part II, January 1, 2003.

7 Motorcycle and All-Terrain Vehicle Annual Industry Statistics, Motorcycle and Moped Industry Council, 2004.

8 Environment Canada's "Scenario 3" Forecast (1995-2020) of Criteria Air Contaminants (CAC).

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