Press Release

Europe embarks on a journey to zero-emission transport

May 31, 2017

Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomes European Commission’s proposal today on smart road tolls and its commitment to zero-emission mobility. The Commission also reaffirmed its commitment to set stricter CO2 standards for cars, vans and, for the first time,  trucks. These are moves in the right direction, but the real test of the EU’s intentions will be the ambition of the CO2 standards and whether it proposes a zero-emission vehicle mandate, the sustainable transport group said.

William Todts, executive director of T&E, said: “We welcome the Commission’s reform of road charging. Distance-based tolls are a great instrument to reduce congestion, promote cleaner vehicles and make transport more efficient. The new rules also make charging smarter by differentiating tolls based on CO2 emissions and giving discounts to zero-emission vehicles. This will give a big boost to investments in more efficient and zero-emission trucks.

Fifteen EU countries have tolling systems in place where trucks pay per kilometer driven; the Commission wants to expand this to more EU countries by phasing out time-based vignette systems by 2024. Charging per kilometer encourages drivers to take the most efficient route and discourages empty trips while reducing congestion and pollution. For countries that want to introduce road charging for cars, they should have to follow these new smarter toll rules.

Tolls will be calculated based on the carbon emissions of trucks while zero-emission vehicles will be given a 75% toll discount. This is enabled by the adoption of a new CO2 test for trucks, called VECTO. Member states will have to start monitoring truck CO2 emissions under a newly proposed Monitoring, Reporting and Verification regulation released as part of today’s mobility package.

The Commission also outlined its plans to roll out new CO2 standards for cars, vans and trucks. It will propose CO2 standards for cars and vans by the end of 2017, and for the first time, fuel efficiency standards for trucks in early 2018. Transport is the largest source of EU greenhouse gas emissions because it is mainly powered by oil. EU countries spend €250 billion a year importing oil from Russia and the Middle East. New vehicle CO2 standards will be critical in helping EU countries achieve their national climate goals and reducing oil imports.

William Todts said: “Transport is Europe’s biggest climate problem. Ambitious CO2 standards coupled with a zero-emission vehicle mandate are what’s needed to reduce transport emissions, cut oil imports and boost the competitiveness of our industries. Now the Commission needs to put its money where its mouth is. After Dieselgate, and the US and China overtaking us on electric vehicles, the time has come to decisively put Europe on a path towards electromobility.

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