Fleet Ops: Fuel Efficiency
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Gov't anti-idling rebate program under scrutiny
OTTAWA -- The federal Conservative government says bureaucrats botched the multimillion-dollar FleetSmart program and has ordered a series of audits into the beleaguered initiative. According to Canadian Press, Natural Resources Canada is looking deeper into the $32.3-million Commercial Transportation Energy Efficiency and Fuels Initiative, which included FleetSmart -- a project that awarded rebates to trucking companies that invested in anti-idling technology. So far, CTEEFI's program director has been fired and at least one grant agreement with a transport carrier has been cancelled, as officials follow up on an audit that has uncovered serious faults with the program since it was launched by the former Liberal government in 2003. The department is also revamping how it hands out money for all its programs, reports CP. Alarm bells first went off in 2005 when NRCan employees noticed at least one organization was not living up to the terms of its grant agreement and still being paid. Officials later uncovered a raft of problems with the entire federal program. FleetSmart pays a rebate for the installation of pre-qualified equipment that provides truck-cab or bus-interior heating and/or cooling, such as fuel-fired generators or APUs. The devices allow vehicle operators to maintain a comfortable environment in the interior of the vehicle without idling the main vehicle engine, thus saving fuel and reducing emissions. Other initiatives under CTEEFI included subsidies for biodiesel and natural gas as fuels. -- with files from Canadian Press
 
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