Despite all the fanfare about electric trucks at the world’s largest truck fair (IAA) on Wednesday 19 September, the German and European truck lobby groups are urging lawmakers to weaken emission reduction targets so they can keep selling even dirtier diesel lorries for another decade and as few electric trucks as possible. Transport & Environment’s (T&E) analysis shows that new trucks in 2025 could be even less fuel efficient than those in 2019, if lawmakers follow the wishes of the German VDA and Europe’s ACEA.
The use of palm oil for EU biofuels dwarfs the amount used to make cookies, hazelnut spreads, ice cream, shampoo, lipsticks – and other food and cosmetic products. That’s according to new industry data which shows diesel cars and trucks burned 51% of all the palm oil used in Europe in 2017.
The European Commission today proposed the EU’s first-ever fuel economy standards for new trucks. The 2025 target of 15% will save truck owners €5,000 in reduced fuel bills every year, strengthen European truckmakers’ competitiveness and cut millions of tonnes of climate-changing emissions. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomes the proposal but cautions that the Commission’s plan falls short of the ambition demanded by hauliers and businesses and what’s needed to hit the EU’s own climate goals.
European Commissioners are coming under unprecedented pressure to set ambitious truck CO2 emissions standards after a rare alliance of global brands, transport companies and hauliers associations last month demanded that CO2 cuts of 24% by 2025 be targeted. In a letter to Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, Carrefour, IKEA, Unilever, Heineken, Nestlé, logistics giant Geodis, national transport associations and other big players said the target was necessary if the EU was to remain the leader in the fight against climate change.
Light commercial vehicles, or vans, are a neglected area of EU road transport policy as they are often exempt from safety and environmental policy such as driving regulations or tolls, compared to their direct competitors, trucks. This enhances their attractiveness and in part explains why their use and emissions are growing. CO2 standards for van makers are much weaker than for cars, as a result van makers do not deploy the same efficient and innovative technologies to vans to lower their emissions.
This study shows that, in the period 2008 to 2011, a time before CO2 standards for trucks came into effect in the US, truck prices increased but fuel efficiency remained broadly static. Coming into force in 2011, standards ensured the deployment of fuel saving technologies and brought about a 24% fuel efficiency gain from 2011 to 2017.
A group of 18 major European cities have written to Commission President Juncker urging him to prioritise road safety by mandating a direct vision standard for trucks as soon as possible. Cities such as London, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels and Copenhagen are re-designing existing roads and cutting vehicle speeds but say they cannot be successful "if we do not also improve in parallel the safety of the cars, vans and trucks".
This is the fifth in a series of eight snippets about how to decarbonise land freight by 2050. Based on a new T&E study, the series will culminate in a public debate in Brussels in September.
The EU is negotiating trade deals with Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay), Indonesia, and soon Malaysia, These trade deals represent a risk for the EU’s sustainable transport plans. All mentioned countries are producers and exporters of crop-based biofuels, especially from palm and soybean oil that have higher overall emissions than fossil diesel. All ongoing negotiations include chapters on energy and raw materials.
Today heavy duty vehicles account for around 30% of EU road transport CO2, but as cars decarbonise, this is expected to reach about 40%. The Commission proposal on monitoring and reporting (MR) of truck CO2 emissions and fuel consumption seeks to collect certain truck data and make it available (with restrictions) to the Commission and stakeholders. The MR regulation will support the implementation of truck CO2 standards – a Commission proposal is due in early 2018.