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Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

New fuel rules face roadblocks

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Toronto Star

Ottawa proposal to phase in tougher rules by 2020 called timid by activists, unrealistic by automakers

Which means they have probably got it about right. As Mark Jaccard noted, if GM had spent its money on research and development instead of law suits when California introduced its fuel efficiency standards, it might still be No 1 – instead of being pushed aside by Toyota, which has been concentrating on building better vehicles ever since it got into the business.

But then Canada may also find that GM has not learned its lesson and will once again resort to a law suit, following the precedent set by the Ethyl Corporation. They are the friendly folk who used to make a lead additive for gasoline that poisoned a couple of generations and reduced their intelligence – which explains a lot, come to think of it. Once the US got the lead out, they turned to other additives including MMT, a neurotoxin banned in the US but allowed in Canada. When BC attempted to get it taken out of our gas, Ethyl responded with a suit based on the Free Trade Act. Tom Gunton (then Deputy Minister at MoE) and Moe Sihota folded – fast. Ethyl, they said, may be lousy chemists but they sure can afford good lawyers. (Incidentally the motor manufacturers also wanted MMT banned as it damaged their catalytic converters and thus increased emissions of common air contaminants.)

If Canada tries tougher standards than the US I expect another Free Trade Act challenge from the US manufacturers. The importers, of course,will already have far more fuel efficient cars than new standards demand ready ahead of time.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 18, 2008 at 3:07 pm

Posted in fuel consumption

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