There is broad support among EU environment ministers for new CO2 standards for trucks and strengthened CO2 standards for cars. A large number of those attending an informal council of transport and environment ministers in Amsterdam last month said the measures would be required to ensure the necessary transition towards a low and zero emission transport sector in 2050 in order to combat climate change, air pollution and ‘green’ Europe’s economy.
A German trade body has uncovered evidence of a lorry exhaust manipulation scam ‘on an industrial scale’. Camion Pro says its research suggests around 20% of lorries using German roads have had their NOx emissions reduction technology manipulated by the scam that is rife in eastern Europe, causing increased pollution and losses of income from the German motorway toll scheme.
Switzerland has voted in favour of building a second road tunnel through the Gotthard alpine mountain. In a referendum in late February, the Swiss electorate voted by 57% to 43% to approve a second road tunnel, despite it appearing to contradict the Swiss constitution that commits the country to shifting goods transport from road to rail. The vote has been widely seen as part of a political swing to the right, which has been accompanied by a weakening of public willingness to support environmental measures.
CO2 standards for new vehicles have been proven to work and new targets should be introduced for 2025 and 2030, a report for the European Parliament’s transport committee has said. The limited quantities of available biofuels are also highlighted, while the shift to electric vehicles is ‘inevitable’.
Leaked plans by car and truckmakers to cut carbon emissions of their vehicles in Europe – by resurfacing all roads in the EU at a cost of more than €520 billion – have been criticised as an abdication of the sector’s climate responsibility. Industry body ACEA’s ‘Joining forces’ initiative calls for greater efficiencies through major investments such as in lower rolling resistance tarmac, but fails to identify new CO2 standards for vehicles.
In between sending off the last e-mails, cleaning my desk and trying to recover from the T&E Christmas party, I was asked what I’ll remember from 2015. Lots of things obviously but professionally there’s only one thing that really stands out: the new US truck fuel efficiency regulation.
European trucks burn the same amount of fuel per km now as they did more than a decade ago, according to a new study, prompting calls for fuel economy standards to be introduced to accelerate innovation in the stagnant sector and cut trucks' CO2 emissions.
Germany’s federal environment agency, UBA, has backed calls for truck fuel efficiency standards, saying ‘a much more intensive discussion about CO2 standards for heavy goods vehicles’ and ‘ambitious regulation’ are required. Citing ever-greater volumes of goods being transported by road and the trend towards more powerful and heavier vehicles, the agency said the transport sector must step up its efforts on climate action.
New research has suggested that investing in public and low-emission transport could bring massive financial savings in addition to making a sizeable contribution to reducing greenhouse gases.