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France scales back lorry toll

France’s Assemblée Nationale approved a scaled-down toll for lorries, which will do little to improve logistics efficiency as well as lorries’ environmental and health impacts. The decision goes against a wider trend of expanding or introducing ambitious lorry km-charging schemes in other countries like Germany, Poland, Austria and Belgium. 

EU biofuels reform without decarbonisation target is a crop-out

The EU took some small but welcome steps towards reforming its biofuels policy on 13 June when the council of energy ministers agreed a position. Clearly the content of this agreement - food-based biofuels capped at seven per cent of petrol and diesel sold, and weak national targets for advanced biofuels - is far from satisfactory as it is still fails to differentiate among the various types of biofuels and reward those with better environmental performance.

Germany backs binding energy efficiency target

Germany is arguing for the EU to tighten its target to cut energy consumption, in a bid to ease dependence on Russian gas. According to documents quoted by the Financial Times newspaper, Germany has called on the EU to set a binding target for energy efficiency to offer the ‘right impetus’ to overhaul Europe’s energy infrastructure.

FQD - an oily tunnel. But will there be light at the end?

EU media has reported that the European Commission is planning to weaken the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD), a law to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of Europe's transport fuels by 6% by 2020, in order to appease oil industry, Canadian and US government lobbying. As is often the case, there is some truth to the reports on the FQD - but from the version of the draft proposal that T&E has seen, we can say that there are still some useful elements in this weakened text.

Is combined transport working?

The Commission is consulting on whether EU rules on combined transport are working or need updating. Combined transport – which is generally taken to mean freight movements that are largely by rail or water but with the start and end by road – is regulated by an EU directive dating from 1992. It aims to promote combined transport through reducing restrictions, eliminating authorisation procedures, and offering financial support through fiscal incentives for certain combined transport operations.

eMobility more than ‘just electric cars’

This article was first published in Parliament Magazine on 13 June 2014The Ukraine crisis highlights the urgent need to rethink Europe’s energy use and dependence. Two thirds of EU oil use is in transport, and transport itself is still almost 100 per cent dependent on oil. A third of the EU’s oil comes from Russia, entailing a massive capital transfer of around €100bn a year.

Ministers seal a modest reform of EU biofuels policy

Energy ministers today finally agreed to change the EU’s biofuels policy. After more than a year of talks, the Energy Council says it wants to limit the amount of food-based biofuels to 7% of petrol and diesel sold. Without policy change, around 8.6% would likely come from such biofuels; the Commission proposed a stricter limit of 5%. The deal also further weakens the reporting of biofuels emissions resulting from indirect land-use change (ILUC).

Ministers reject megatrucks but stall safer lorry designs for 8 more years

EU transport ministers decided today to delay changes to the weights and dimensions rules for lorry cabins, which would allow safer and more fuel efficient lorries to be produced [1]. Under Franco-Swedish pressure, ministers regrettably agreed to ban the introduction of safer and cleaner lorry cabs from Europe’s roads for at least eight years. In a more positive note, ministers rejected a proposal to allow megatrucks to cross borders.

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