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  • Lorry CO2 – why Europe needs standards

    This briefing shows how fuel economy in trucks in Europe has stagnated for 20 years in the absence of regulation. While the US is pushing ahead with the second phase of CO2 standards, the EU is stuck developing a system for monitoring and reporting.

    In October 2014, EU heads of state committed to reduce emissions in the non-ETS sectors by 30% in 2030, compared with 2005 levels. A legal proposal for the so-called ‘effort sharing decision’ (ESD) will be issued in mid-2016 allocating responsibility between countries.

    Transport is the biggest sector in the ESD with a share of 34%, and heavy-duty vehicles are responsible for around a quarter of transport emissions. Between 1990 and 2010 lorry CO2 emissions rose 36% and this increase is projected to continue. The International Transport Forum, an OECD think tank, estimates the increase of road freight emissions means freight emissions will overtake passenger transport emissions as the largest source of emissions.1

    In its May 2014 communication2 the European Commission acknowledges there is a problem – rising CO2 emissions and stagnant lorry fuel efficiency – and proposes to introduce a ‘monitoring, reporting and verification’ (MRV) scheme for lorries. Similarly, the 2015 Energy Union communication3 talks about ‘measures’ to improve lorry fuel efficiency but only commits to introducing an MRV in 2016. This is a welcome first step but will not deliver the required change and must be supported by CO2/fuel efficiency standards, as has happened for cars and vans.