• G20 leaders’ truck CO2 commitment underscores need for targets worldwide

    The G20 leaders’ commitment to improve efficiency and lower CO2 emissions of heavy-duty vehicles signals the need for fuel economy standards worldwide, say sustainable transport groups Transport & Environment and Smart Freight Centre. CO2 emissions are directly related to the fuel economy of internal-combustion vehicles, with more fuel-efficient vehicles emitting less greenhouse gas.

    In the US – where truck fuel efficiency will overtake Europe’s in the early 2020s – fuel economy standards have been shown to be an effective policy measure to curb emissions from new heavy-duty vehicles. But despite the global nature of freight movement and truck manufacturing, only four G20 members – Canada, China and Japan as well as the US – have such standards in place. India and Mexico are currently preparing fuel efficiency regulations for new trucks. [1]

    Lorry emissions in Europe have risen sharply in recent decades – 36% between 1990 and 2010, despite the 2008 economic crisis – due to their high mileage and huge fuel consumption. 

    Despite fuel accounting for a significant share of truck operating costs – up to 30% – European truck fuel efficiency has been mostly stable over the last two decades. European truckmakers produce about 40% of the world’s trucks.

    William Todts, transport programme manager at Transport & Environment, said: “The leaders of the world’s wealthiest countries, including France, Germany, Italy and the UK, see the urgent need to curb trucks’ emissions. It now falls on the EU to finally start working on ambitious fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty vehicles just like they are doing in the US right now.”

    Sophie Punte, executive director at Smart Freight Centre, said: “Fuel economy standards are just the start. Governments must also support green freight programs that bring industry together to take practical actions and achieve double-digit emission reductions. The first green freight program was SmartWay in the US, launched in 2004, and there are 13 countries with green freight programs today.”


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