CO2 emissions from trucks will be regulated under EU law for the first time as part of a package of new rules that also aims to increase efficiency and improve road safety.
All new trucks will have to abide by CO2 emission standards under a new proposal revealed by the European Commission on 17 May. By 2025, average emissions will have to be 15% lower than in 2019 and by 2030 an indicative 30% target will apply.
An impact assessment into buses and coaches is still pending and as such, they will remain exempt until at least 2022 when a review of the rules will be conducted.
The Commission insists that its maths is Paris Agreement-compliant and will allow transport companies to significantly cut fuel costs, citing a return of €25,000 over a five-year-period on a €1,800 investment.
But the proposed targets are a far cry from what environmental groups, multinational companies and some member states were expecting from the Commission’s first foray into truck emissions regulation.
A group of five EU members, including France and the Netherlands, called for a binding 2025 target of “at least 24%” and a 2030 benchmark of between 35% and 45%. Some companies like IKEA and Unilever also push for more ambition.
Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc is aiming for zero emissions from transport by 2050 but NGO Transport & Environment warned that only a 24% 2025 reduction target could put those aspirations within reach.
Conversely, the truck lobby had hoped to persuade the Commission to dilute its targets as much as possible, citing the already advanced stage of next-generation truck design as the reason to err on the side of caution.
The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) welcomed the two-step approach to the targets but said they “are far too aggressive, and have not been selected with the specific nature of the truck market in mind”.
But Commissioners Miguel Arias Cañete and Maroš Šefčovič both insisted that the 2025 target can be met with existing technologies.
Transport accounts for nearly a quarter of the EU’s emissions and, unlike other sectors, greenhouse gases continue to rise. Trucks contribute roughly 25% of emissions yet make up only 5% of the vehicles on our roads.
Climate Commissioner Cañete insisted that “all sectors must contribute to meet our climate commitments under the Paris Agreement”, as the EU targets a 40% cut in overall emissions by 2030 and starts to think about a mid-century net-zero strategy.
But the stakes are high, as transport provides 11 million jobs and generates 5% of EU GDP. The Commission hopes its proposal will help create 25,000 more jobs by 2025.
Photo credit: Grigvovan / Shutterstock