Canada, U.S. team up on auto emissions

Canada and the U.S. are set to announce new harmonized auto emissions standards, a move that’s designed to push automakers to build more fuel-efficient cars.

Reports say the announcements will be made today at simultaneous news conferences in Ottawa and Washington.

The reports say restrictions will be tightened beginning next year and by 2016, new vehicles will have tailpipe emission levels 25 per cent lower than 2008 models.

The reports say there will be annual emissions reports from auto manufacturers, and restrictions on tailpipe emissions like nitrous oxide and methane.

The new standards could add to the cost of new vehicles.

But supporters argue consumers will save hundreds of dollars in fuel economy.

Environment Minister Jim Prentice will outline the new standards at a news conference at a car dealership in Ottawa.

Prentice first announced the government’s plan last April. The draft regulations were released last December to allow for early consultations with provinces, territories and other stakeholders.

Canada and the U.S. share a deeply integrated automotive industry, and Ottawa believes there are significant environmental and economic benefits to an approach that is closely aligned.

U.S. President Barack Obama has said the new requirements will save 1.8 billion barrels of oil in his country over the life of the program, which will cover the 2012-2016 model years.