Together we drive change

Brian Ahearn is the Canadian Fuels Association’s Vice-President, Western Canada. Learn more at

The real challenge in addressing climate change is the transition to a “low-emission” lifestyle—the shift in attitudes and behaviours we must make to shape a low-carbon world.

Most of us already know what a low-carbon future looks like. It’s one in which we drive smarter, in which our vehicles are more fuel-efficient, and we have a greater choice of fuel types.

The challenge now is to be part of the societal change that will make this low-carbon future a reality. If the challenge seems insurmountable, it’s helpful to remember that even small steps start us in the right direction.

Adjusting the way we drive

Given that the largest portion of emissions is from end-use consumption—namely the combustion of petroleum fuels in cars—simply using less fuel is one of the most effective ways to reduce emissions. One way to cut fuel consumption is to drive differently. Minimize idling times and go easy when accelerating. Keep your speed steady and your vehicle well maintained. (See page 21 for more tips from the winner of this year’s EcoRun.)

We can also drive less. Take public transit whenever possible. Choose active transportation options, leaving the car at home and walking or cycling instead.

Conventional vehicles keep improving

If a new vehicle is in your future, make greater fuel efficiency a purchase priority. Propelled by new federal fuel efficiency vehicle standards, manufacturers are making significant gains with powertrain innovations, using new lightweight materials, and introducing more hybrid models.

We all want change to happen as soon as possible, but progress—by definition—will occur over time as new vehicles gradually replace the current fleet. By 2025, new internal combustion vehicles will be 50 percent more fuel efficient and emit 50 percent less GHGs than similar 2008 models.

What are the fuel providers doing?

Canada’s petroleum fuel producers work closely with vehicle manufacturers to create fuel formulations that meet federal emission regulations by, for example, removing sulphur and adjusting octane content. Canadian Fuels’ membership includes some of Canada’s largest producers of biofuels, helping to broaden the fuel mix and support development of alternative vehicle technologies. Our members also support the Smart Fuelling program to improve driving habits, and sponsor the Smart Drive Challenge to help us all drive less, drive better and drive change.

We are the solution

In towns and cities across Canada, we can improve traffic management, public transit and land-use planning—all of which will help reduce vehicle use, fuel consumption and GHG emissions.

If there is a single solution to climate change, it is the shared determination of industry, governments and Canadians to shrink our collective carbon footprint. Together, we are well on our way to living the low-emission lifestyle.

Let’s live it to the fullest.