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Report and study

The Rise of Light-Duty Trucks in Canada: Reversing the Trend

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Conducted by Équiterre in conjunction with the Mobility Chair of Polytechnique Montréal, the Centre for Interuniversity Research and Analysis on Organizations (CIRANO), HEC Montréal and Horizon Advisors, the purpose of the study entitled "The Rise of Light-Duty Trucks in Canada: Reversing the Trend” is to explain the causes behind the growing preference among Canadians for oversized, energy-inefficient vehicles as well as the consequences of this phenomenon in order to be able to propose possible solutions.

The final report also explores the motivations behind vehicle purchases, the advertising practices and strategies used by the automotive industry, the legislative framework for automotive advertising, and the most effective messages for discouraging the purchase of an oversized, energy-inefficient vehicle. As such, the study provides a comprehensive look at the issue before putting forward any public policy recommendations.

While Canada has committed to the Paris Agreement and presents itself as an international climate leader, the country remains one of the largest polluters per capita in the world and is not on track to meet its various greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets.

In 2020, the transportation sector accounted for one quarter of Canada's emissions, making it a key sector in the collective effort to meet the 2030 and 2050 targets. When it comes to Canadian preferences for personal vehicles, the numbers speak for themselves. Between 1990 and 2018, the number of sport utility vehicles (SUVs), pickup trucks and vans in the Canadian fleet rose by 280%. This light-duty truck segment reached a historic high of 79,9% of the new vehicle sales in 2020.

Additional information

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Financial support

To conduct this research, Équiterre received funding from the Contributions Program for Non-profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada or the Government of Canada.