Download the Air Action Plan [PDF 1.08MB]

Clean Transportation

Did You Know?

By 2009, B.C. Transit will have the world's largest fleet of buses powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Twenty buses are scheduled for delivery, with testing beginning in 2008. Hydrogen fueling stations are also being developed and will be online by mid-2009.

Did You Know?

About one fifth of B.C.'s school bus fleet has already been retrofitted with filters that significantly reduce their emissions of air pollutants. Benefits to the environment and human health are, to date, equivalent to taking 17,000 vehicles off the road entirely.

Did You Know?

British Columbia is the first province in Canada to mandate installation of clean technology, such as DOC filters, to reduce emissions from older heavy-duty diesel vehicles. An expanded AirCare On Road program will enforce compliance.

Did You Know?

A single tractor-trailer can emit up to 20 tonnes of greenhouse gases and two tonnes of fine particulate matter every year – just from idling.

Did You Know?

If all diesel vehicles in B.C. used a 10 per cent biodiesel blend, we could reduce our annual production of fine particulate matter by more than 60 tonnes per year – equivalent to taking about 7500 heavy duty diesel trucks off the road.

Making Heavy-Duty Vehicles Cleaner

The sight and smell of diesel fumes from heavy-duty engines are off-putting. And we're right to be concerned. Older commercial and industrial vehicles can emit up to 60 times more fine particulate matter than those with new, modern engines. And modern engines can run even cleaner when they switch from 100 per cent diesel fuel to a biodiesel blend.

This Air Action Plan includes the following initiatives to reduce pollution from heavy-duty vehicles:

Action #5: Retro-fit heavy-duty diesel vehicles. The government will retrofit its own heavy-duty diesel vehicles, most of which are ambulances, and actively promote the use of biodiesel wherever possible. New requirements will be introduced to make mandatory retrofits of all commercial on-road heavy-duty diesel vehicles by 2009. Retro-fits involve the installation of diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) filters or any equally effective technology.

DOC filters can be easily installed on most vehicles, require virtually no maintenance, do not reduce performance or fuel efficiency, and are compatible with biodiesel. This initiative will reduce emissions of fine particulate matter by at least 30 tonnes per year.

Action #6: Retro-fit Transit buses. Like heavy-duty trucks, transit buses can be in service for up to 30 years or more. So, even as new, cleaner models become available, it makes sense to clean up the older models that are still in use. B.C. Transit is working with the provincial government to develop a plan to reduce PM2.5 emissions from transit buses through retro-fits and other improvements, such as the use of biodiesel, which is already fueling B.C. Transit fleets in Kelowna and Victoria.

Action #7: Clean up school buses. The government is investing more than $10 million in new clean-energy school buses. The funding, which is being provided to school districts through the Ministry of Education, will support the purchase of more than 80 new state-ofthe- art school buses province-wide. All existing school buses are also being retro-fitted with new clean diesel technology such as DOC filters.

Action #8: Get AirCare on Road out to more communities. This program has operated in Greater Vancouver since the mid-1990s. Two mobile testing vans are strategically deployed to test heavy-duty vehicles for visible pollutants. As part of this Air Action Plan, the government is expanding the program to cover more communities and regions of the province. Testing of heavy-duty vehicles in high traffic areas will be underway by 2009 to help ensure that vehicles meet B.C.'s diesel emission standards.

Action #9: Get big diesels to stop idling. Every year, a typical inter-city tractor trailer unit spends 1,800 hours idling. This is equivalent to 75 days of wasting fuel, costing money and releasing fine particulate matter and greenhouse gases into the air. The problem is partly due to the fact that many tractor trailers have refrigeration units and other critical systems that cannot be shut down until they reach their destination.

B.C. is working with neighbouring jurisdictions to create electrified truck stops – letting tractor trailer units plug into clean Hydro outlets instead of running their engines. The government is also examining other options for reducing emissions from heavy-duty idling.

Action #10: Green vehicle fleets: we're making it happen. Led by the Fraser Basin Council, this partnership initiative helps the owners of commercial and public sector vehicle fleets improve their fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. The program has already identified opportunities for smog reduction that could have an impact equivalent to taking 50,000 cars off the road.

Over the next three years, Green Fleets B.C. (GFB.C.) will help remove over 900 tonnes of smog-causing emissions and 200,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases from our air. That's the equivalent of taking 50,000 light-duty vehicles off the road - and it is a key part of our government's plan to improve air quality in British Columbia.

GFB.C. will be a key information hub for the latest on green technologies for private and public sector fleets, including taxis, emergency vehicles, delivery vans and commercial freight trucks. It also forms part of government's climate change strategy, which includes the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 33 per cent by 2020.

Action #11: Use biodiesel in government diesel vehicles. Biodiesel is a renewable fuel made from plant or animal-based fats and oils. It is most often blended with diesel fuel and can be used wherever diesel is used, with few or no equipment modifications. Communities with a biodiesel supply have the opportunity to divert waste from businesses such as restaurants and rendering plants away from sewers and landfills.

Action #12: B.C. Buys Green. The government has tremendous purchasing power in the marketplace and uses that power to influence development of more environmentally friendly choices. The government will implement its own environmentally responsible procurement strategy. For example, by requiring the use of biodiesel in government vehicles, the government supports ongoing efforts to make biodiesel more commercially available.

Environmentally responsible strategies are being incorporated into the government's policies regarding buildings, vehicle fleets and the purchase or lease of other goods and services. The B.C. government already operates a fleet of 584 hybrid-electric vehicles – the largest such fleet in Canada – and since 2007, has had a policy of only leasing or purchasing hybrid-electric vehicles for government use.

Action #13: Support greener ports and marine vessels. Ports play a crucial role in B.C.'s economy. Almost 80 million tonnes of cargo moved through the Port of Vancouver in 2006 – up about four per cent from the year before – and, with a major expansion underway in Prince Rupert and Deltaport, we can expect to see accelerated growth in years ahead.

As part of this Air Action Plan, the government will work in partnership with ports and related industry organizations to test new ways to reduce emissions from port operations. These pilot projects will build on the work underway to support green ports and marine vessels. We will be working with ports and the shipping industry from jurisdictions up and down the West Coast, including California, to establish environmental standards for Pacific ports. We'll be seeking federal cooperation to electrify our ports, so cruise ships can plug in while they're docked, rather than idling their engines.