The Ontario Natural Gas Alliance (ONGA) says a new study suggests Ontario can save billions of dollars in fuel costs and significantly cut greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050 if the province can address long-overdue transportation issues and implement solutions that include an increased reliance on natural gas vehicles (NGVs) and electric vehicles (EVs).
The University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) study, which focuses on the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and the Highway 401-407 corridor, takes into account that traffic congestion is already costing Torontonians approximately C$6 billion per year due to higher fuel consumption, increased health-care costs and eroded real estate values. The study says that alternative transportation options, such as the expansion of NGVs and EVs, especially for heavy-duty trucking fleets, as well as the introduction of a Highway 401/407 rapid transit system throughout the GTA and southwestern Ontario, would provide considerable benefits for both Ontario's environment and economy.
‘The transportation sector is the number one contributor to greenhouse-gas emissions in Ontario,’ says Bob Betts, spokesperson for the ONGA. ‘And with major events such as the Pan Am Games magnifying congestion issues, tackling this problem head on has become a clear priority.’
Led by UOIT professor Dr. Daniel Hoornweg, the study was prepared as part of ongoing transportation work through the university's Jeffrey S. Boyce Research Chair in Natural Gas as a Transportation Fuel. The ONGA says the research takes an integrated retrospective view from 2050 and concludes that a long-term approach focusing on clean and affordable solutions is feasible with the use of personal EVs and natural-gas-powered buses and heavy-duty trucks.
‘A large-scale transportation initiative emphasizing mobility, connectivity, integration and leadership is important for Ontario and Canada,’ says Hoornweg. “As a minimum, the proposed approach which includes making the switch to other cleaner, safer and more affordable energy alternatives, would provide fuel savings costs of some C$76 billion and reduced greenhouse gas emissions of more than 100 million tonnes by 2050.”
‘Other provinces are already making commitments toward a more sustainable future,’ adds Betts. ‘There is no reason for Ontario, the largest economy in Canada, to lag behind. Let us start with smart transportation and cleaner energy.’
The full, comprehensive report is available here.