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  • The European Parliament accelerates the transition to cleaner trucks

    MEPs have told EU governments that the bloc’s first ever truck CO2 standards need to be more ambitious than those proposed by the European Commission. The full European Parliament voted for a 20% reduction in truck CO2 emissions in 2025, and at least 35% in 2030. Transport & Environment (T&E) said the increased ambition in emissions reduction targets, together with a zero-emission truck sales target that can be enforced, are very positive steps which, once matched by Council, will cut climate emissions, make air in cities cleaner and slash fuel bills for businesses. However, the mandated reductions will not do enough in the truck sector to meet the goals of the Paris agreement.

    The MEPs’ higher ambition for the 2025 target will deliver an additional €14,000 in fuel savings per new truck in its first five years compared to the Commission’s proposed 15% reduction.[1] Truckmakers would also have to meet a target for zero-emission trucks of 5% of sales in 2025. Crucially, those manufacturers falling short of the target would need to achieve higher fuel efficiency on the diesel trucks they sell, the MEPs said, while those exceeding it would have less stringent CO2 reduction targets.

    Stef Cornelis, cleaner trucks officer at T&E, said: “MEPs have played a key part in moving towards the EU’s climate and transport policy goals. The next question is whether member states will also back the emissions and fuel savings sought by more than 40 major hauliers and businesses, including Carrefour, DB Schenker and IKEA. The 5% sales target for zero and low-emission trucks is essential to ensure we develop the market in Europe and start moving beyond diesel.”

    The strong business support is also evident from companies such as Nestlé. Welcoming the vote, Bart Vandewaetere, head of corporate communications and government relations for Nestlé zone Europe, Middle East and North Africa, said: “Having more fuel-efficient trucks will help us to further accelerate our reduction in CO2 emissions across transport and distribution.” Jochen Thewes, the CEO of logistics giant DB Schenker, has also called for 2025 targets of 20% and a stronger regulatory push for zero emission trucks.[2]

    The MEPs also voted for the EU to adopt an annual testing scheme and on-road tests of vehicles while they are in use. These will check the fuel efficiency data provided by truckmakers – to ensure they don’t cheat in testing procedures.

    Stef Cornelis concluded: “Now it’s up to national governments. MEPs have sent a really strong signal for ambitious targets but also that they are achievable. Discussions will need to move quickly but the momentum is definitely there for a win-win outcome during this legislature and for a deal to be struck that goes further than the European Commission proposal.”

    MEPs voted by 373 to 285 in support of the Parliament’s proposal and gave a direct mandate to rapporteur Bas Eickhout to enter direct negotiations (trilogues) with member states, which are due to adopt their position shortly.

    Trucks are not yet subject to fuel efficiency standards – even though they account for 22% of vehicle emissions while making up less than 5% of the vehicles on the road. Meanwhile, European hauliers spend, on average, €32,000 a year per truck on fuel. While the US, Japan, China and Canada have CO2 limits in place, the fuel efficiency of trucks in Europe improved little in the past 20 years while all EU truckmakers engaged in a price fixing cartel.

    Note to editors:

    [1] European Commission impact assessment, table 15. With a 20% emissions reduction, the owner of a new truck saves €37,589 in the first five years, but approx €14,000 less (€23,438) if the emissions reduction is 15%.

    [2] Article in Tagesspiegel, 12 November 2018.