Sources of air pollution: transportation

By bringing people and goods together, transportation represents a key element of the Canadian economy and society. However, motorized transportation has adverse health and environmental impacts.

Transportation is one of the largest sources of air pollution in Canada. The combustion of fossil fuels to power vehicles and engines (on and off road) - cars and trucks; large trucks and buses; recreational vehicles; lawn and gardening equipment; farming and construction; forklifts and ice resurfacers; rail and marine - has major adverse impacts on the environment and health of Canadians.

Initiatives to reduce emissions from vehicles, engines and fuels can have significant positive effects on air quality, acid rain, smog and climate change. The federal government is committed to protecting the environment and the health of Canadians by implementing measures to reduce emissions from vehicles. This includes developing regulations for vehicles and engines, promoting sustainable transportation options, ensuring efficient modes of transportation and by promoting improved land-use planning and practices.

On July 29, 2015, The Government of Canada adopted the most stringent national standards in the world for air pollutant emissions from new cars and light trucks.

Infographic about national standards for air pollutant emissions from new cars and light trucks.

Available in PDF - 552 KB

Infographic Long Description

This infographic explains the environmental, health, and economic benefits of Canada’s Tier 3 vehicle and fuel standards.

The Government of Canada is taking action to further reduce harmful air pollutant emissions. Canada protects its air by having the world’s most stringent national air pollutant emissions standards for new cars and light trucks.

Over $7.5 billion in health and environmental benefits by 2030 are projected from the Tier 3 vehicle and fuel standards. In the infographic four more key benefits are displayed over a background of a map of Canada, a silhouette of a family outside in a park, and a new car driving on a roadway:

  1. Reduced annual on-road vehicle smog-forming emissions by 2030 are expected to be 15 per cent less volatile organic compounds, 13 per cent less nitrogen oxides, 8 per cent less particulate matter, 43 per cent less sulphur dioxide, and 22 per cent less carbon monoxide.
  2. Lowering smog-forming air pollutant emissions from new vehicles by as much as 80 per cent over current standards
  3. Reducing sulphur in gasoline limits in 2017 by nearly 70 per cent
  4. Health benefits: Between 2017 and 2030 the regulations will prevent, 200 000 days of asthma symptoms, and 2.8 million days with other air pollution-related respiratory issues.


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