Press Release

California’s 2036 clean trucks deadline leaves EU in rear-view mirror

May 02, 2023

The EU needs to set similarly ambitious standards if European truckmakers are to maintain global dominance.

California’s decision to end the sale of new diesel rigs from 2036 threatens to leave Europe’s truck industry behind, green group Transport & Environment (T&E) has said. On Friday, America’s most populous state announced the deadline by when only zero-emissions trucks should be sold. Its vehicle regulations are typically adopted by other states which make up 35% of the US market. T&E said European truckmakers’ global dominance will be threatened unless the EU sets similarly ambitious CO2 standards for heavy-duty vehicles.

Fedor Unterlohner, freight manager at T&E, said: “This is the most ambitious truck pollution law anywhere in the world. It will directly challenge the EU’s industrial leadership. European truckmakers are in a global competition to lead on zero-emissions vehicles, but weak EU standards could leave them in the rear-view mirror. The EU needs a 100% target in 2035 and more ambition in 2030 if its truck industry is to stay in the race.”

Heavy-duty vehicles play an outsized role in transport CO2 emissions and would be the world’s fourth largest emitter if they were a country. In Europe, the EU Parliament and governments are debating a proposed 45% CO2 reduction target for new trucks in 2030, and a -90% target in 2040. T&E said the 2030 proposal lags behind truck manufacturers’ own plans and should be increased to -65%. The EU’s draft 2040 standard would virtually ensure that diesel freight trucks are still on the road in 2050 – when the EU aims to be climate neutral.