Environmental Benefits of Speed Limiters for Heavy Trucks Operating in Canada

TP14811 E


In November 2005, the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) asked the Ontario government to mandate speed limiters set at a maximum speed of 105 km/h. Since then the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) and its provincial affiliates have announced their support for making this policy national.

The federal, provincial and territorial governments are conducting an evaluation of the feasibility of this proposal. In October 2006 a discussion paper was prepared to clarify and present the current knowledge on fundamental issues related to the proposal and to provide guidance/direction for determining next steps.

Estimates of the fuel savings and environmental benefits in terms of reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were included in the Discussion Paper. However, due to the time constraints associated with the preparation of that Paper, some of the procedures used for estimating the fuel savings and associated GHG emissions were based on limited information.

This paper updates these estimates using more detailed speed distribution and truck traffic volume data. The additional information allowed for more accurate and detailed estimates of the fuel savings associated with the speed limiter policy. For example, the speed data collected allowed for a speed distribution profile to be developed for most Provinces, compared to one overall speed profile that was used for the original Discussion Paper. The additional speed data also allowed separate savings estimates for highways with posted speeds of 100 km/hr and 110 km/hr.

While the total amount of truck travel involved increased, the truck speeds involved were somewhat lower than previously estimated, limiting the overall savings. The updated annual fuel savings are now estimated at 228.6 million litres, 0.6% above the previously estimated total of 227.3 million litres. This is 1.4% of the total diesel fuel consumed by road vehicles in Canada in 2006.

The annual GHG savings are now estimated at 0.64 megatonnes, compared to the previous estimate of 0.63 megatonnes. Ontario and Quebec combined account for 64% of the estimated national saving.