Press Release

EU target to cut truck CO2 and boost zero-emission truck sales must only be the start

February 19, 2019

Truckmakers will have to cut the carbon emissions of trucks they sell in Europe by almost a third by 2030, following a deal reached in the early hours of this morning by EU lawmakers. Transport & Environment (T&E) said the bloc’s first ever emissions reduction targets for heavy-duty vehicles and a sales benchmark for zero and low-emission trucks – also agreed by lawmakers – would spark climate action and fuel savings. However, the legislation will need to be made more ambitious when it’s reviewed in 2022 to continue to drive down emissions in line with the Paris climate goals.

New heavy-goods vehicles sold in 2025 will be required to emit 15% less CO2 compared to 2019 levels. This will mean fuel savings of more than €20,000 for a truck in the first five years for hauliers and businesses.[1] In 2030 new trucks must emit 30% less CO2 – delivering almost €60,000 in fuel savings per vehicle over a five-year period. The 2030 target is scheduled to be reviewed in 2022.

Stef Cornelis, cleaner trucks officer at T&E, said: “The new truck CO2 standards are excellent news for truckers and the environment. After 20 years of very little progress on fuel efficiency, truckmakers now need to start offering affordable, low-carbon trucks, enabling huge fuel savings for Europe’s haulage industry. But this is just a start and the standards will need to be made a lot more ambitious when they are reviewed in 2022.”

Up until 2025 truckmakers will be able to use the ‘supercredits’ accounting trick – under which sales of zero-emission trucks would be counted multiple times towards meeting their CO2 target. But the European Parliament won a non-binding sales target, or benchmark, that will replace the supercredits from 2025. Manufacturers whose new truck sales are more than 2% electric and hydrogen vehicles will be rewarded with a less stringent CO2 target. The deal also includes a 2-tonne additional weight allowance for zero-emission trucks. T&E said the targets will help kick-start the shift away from diesel. Diesel trucks now account for almost 20% of air pollution in cities such as Berlin and London.[2]

Stef Cornelis concluded: “With the world’s first target for zero-emission trucks, EU regulators are sending a strong signal to the market. So far Europe’s big truckmakers have done very little to create a market for electric and hydrogen trucks. They now have a unique opportunity to take the lead in the race to produce affordable, reliable zero-emission trucks. But they better hurry or they’ll be playing catch up with the Chinese and the Californians just like European carmakers.”

Trucks in Europe account for 22% of vehicle emissions while making up less than 5% of the vehicles on the road. Big businesses including IKEA, Unilever, Carrefour and Nestlé, as well as logistics companies and hauliers, had called for the CO2 targets and sales benchmark to help them address their climate responsibilities and make fuel savings.

Notes to editors:

[1] European hauliers currently spend on average €32,000 a year per truck on fuel. The savings for 2025 and 2030 are shown in the Commission’s Impact Assessment, table 15.

[2] European Commission Impact Assessment, page 7.