Last month’s disclosure in Der Spiegel of a cartel between Volkswagen, BMW, Audi, Porsche and Mercedes bore striking similarities to the recently concluded truck case that lead to a fine of almost €3 billion. In that case, truckmaker MAN (also part of VW) blew the lid on the fixing of prices charged to customers for better emissions control systems needed to meet new regulations and how these costs were passed on to customers. Five companies were fined including the Mercedes truck division Daimler.
Today’s ‘diesel summit’ meeting of the German government and car industry shows the futility of spending huge sums of money on trying to make a diesel technology less dirty, sustainable transport NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) has said. In addition to a promised upgrade of emission control software, lawmakers and carmakers should also incentivise the uptake of electric vehicles – a proven clean technology – by investing in charging points and other measures.
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.
The average car sits unused for more than 90% of the time, carries on average just one and a half people and costs, on average, €6,500 a year to own and run. Each car occupies 150m2 of urban land and still this is not the full bill – congestion costs the EU economy €100 billion annually. The convenience that made the car a 20th century icon has been eroded by its popularity.
Instead of helping the environment, most biofuels actually hurt it. Biodiesel is the most consumed biofuel in Europe today. The problem? European food-based biodiesel emits, on average, 80% more CO2 than fossil diesel.
This report assesses how the EU and Nordic countries could achieve zero GHG road freight and buses by 2050. The report analysed “off the shelf” technologies and strategies (defined as low hanging fruit), such as improving fuel efficiency in diesel trucks or moving more freight into railways. In addition, it also assessed how we could move beyond “low hanging fruit” and fully decarbonise the road freight sector. For this we looked at technologies such as catenary-hybrid, battery electric, hydrogen and power to liquid. All of this information was fed into T&E’s in-house transport model.
The European Parliament will vote next week on whether to strengthen the proposal for Europe’s key climate law, the so-called Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) – or ‘Climate Action Regulation’, the name agreed by the environment committee. MEPs will be asked to back a more ambitious starting point than the European Commission’s proposal and to close some loopholes to ensure member states actually reduce their emissions.
In November 2016 the Commission presented its new proposal for a Renewable Energy Directive in the 2021-2030 period. The main elements of the proposal on transport are to reduce the cap on food and feed-based biofuels to 3.8% in 2030 and to establish a mandate on fuel suppliers, requiring them to blend 6.8% of advanced fuels by 2030 (T&E’s position on biofuels in the RED can be found here).