How Canada’s Clean Fuel Policy May Hurt Citroën Owners

The Canadian Government last month published a draft of their Clean Fuel Standard (CFS), which is central to the ruling Liberal Party’s commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. The proposed regulation is also a key part of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pledge that Canada will hit net-zero emissions by 2050.

CFS requires suppliers of liquid fuels, such as gasoline, diesel and kerosene, to gradually cut the amount of carbon in their product.

There will be carbon-intensity reduction targets set for each fuel, starting in 2022 and increasing annually until 2030. Carbon intensity is measured on a full life-cycle basis, from crude oil extraction, to refining, to a fuel’s end use by consumers.

The CFS is intended to cut carbon emissions, spur investment in clean-energy technology and create a credit trading scheme, where fuel suppliers that are not meeting carbon-intensity reduction requirements can buy credits generated by other companies producing cleaner fuel.

The federal government says the CFS will cut annual emissions by more than 20 megatons by 2030, which would be around 10% of the reductions needed to meet Canada’s climate commitments. Canada currently produces around 730 megatons of greenhouse gas emissions annually and has pledged to cut that to 511 megatons by 2030. It is the tenth largest greenhouse gas emitter globally.

The draft regulation is in a 75-day comment period and if adopted this year will come into force at the end of 2022.

The government originally planned to regulate gaseous and solid fuels as well but narrowed its scope to just liquids. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers welcomed that move, but refiners have previously warned the CFS risks increasing their costs.

There are numerous options available to oil companies; cut emissions associated with oil production, improve the energy efficiency of refineries, invest in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies and blend biofuels into their product. It is the latter that should be of concern to classic car enthusiasts and, of course, Citroën owners. We have written about the issues stemming from the use of ethanol blended gasoline in classic Citroëns. (See: https://citroenvie.com/ethanol-gasoline-why-you-want-to-avoid-using-it-if-at-all-possible/). They could also invest in low-carbon energy sources like hydrogen or renewables.

If the Canadian government follows through and implements CFS, get ready for increased maintenance to fuel lines, and carburetors from 2023 onward.

Not only will CFS impact repair costs, the price of fuel will also rise as fuel suppliers pass on their increased costs.

Canada estimates the CFS will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 221 megatonnes between 2021 and 2040, at a net cost of $94 CAD per tonne, but with a total net cost to society of $20.6 billion CAD.

For the time being at least, we have 2 more years of being able to fill-up with ethanol free gas at Shell and some other gas stations in Canada. (See: https://citroenvie.com/tips-on-searching-for-gas-that-is-ethanol-free/)

Enjoy your Citroën while you can!

4 comments

  1. As a person with many carbureted cars just south of the border in the US, I’ve been subjected to up to 20% ethanol in my fuel for several years. It’s not as bad as you might think.

    For my Citroën, I replaced the rubber jumper from the fuel tank to the plastic line (it’s ethanol safe), and the rubber jumpers by the fuel pump. No problem after that. I would also recommend purchasing non-ethanol fuel for winter storage, or using a product like Stabil to inhibit water. If your carb is close for needing a rebuild, all new needle and seat assemblies (or older ones if you bought the better Viton kit) are ethanol safe.

    My 2CV doesn’t suffer from high underhood heat issues like several of my old sports if muscle cars. In those cases, buy or implement (if the OE manufacturer used it, like GM, most were abandoned years ago) the return system and keep the fuel flowing. Even my most temperamental car (A 1969 Corvette, with a very aggressively built 400ci small block, and a ton of underhood heat, with no good ventilation) subject to percolating and vapor lock on pure Gasoline was tamed by putting in a simple 1/4″ return line.

    All hope isn’t lost. Your carburetor won’t dissolve if you drive the cars semi regularly. It’s not ideal, but, everything is still drivable. Worst thing that happened is a dip in fuel economy across my daily drivers and toys of about 10%.

    But until I can open my own oil field, refinery, supply chain, and store network, it is what it is, right?

  2. Hello, I’ve been using ethanol-free fuel in my Velosolexes here in the States for quite a few years now. I am able to purchase it in quart and gallon size cans here in NYC in Home Depot and lawn care stores in the snow blower / weed wacker section….brand names Powercare and Trufuel…I think Stihl makes it, too. They have a 4-cycle version,… and also a 2-cycle version that is pre-mixed with oil. I purchase the 4-cycle version and add my own semi-synthetic or synthetic blend oil because the 2-cycle version uses full synthetic oil. In the City, it’s impossible to buy ethanol-free gas at the pump. Of course, it’s much easier for me than for you Citroenists because of the Velosolex’s small fuel tank, but just thought I’d join the conversation. And ethanol-free fuel is an absolute must for a VeloSolex as the ethanol distorts all of the plastic and rubber parts of the Velosolex fuel system…fuel tank & cap, fuel filters, fuel pump parts.

  3. There is always the 100 Low Lead aviation gasoline available at your nearest airport….. Just don’t use in catalytic systems….

  4. After reading the article on Canada’s Clean Fuel initiative, I did some searching for ethanol-free gas stations and found this site; it’s quite good as it lists stations by city/town in Canada and the US. Apologies if you’ve already run this at some point — it does have a familiar feeling to it.
    https://www.pure-gas.org/index.jsp?stateprov=ON

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