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  • MEPs back road tolling based on trucks’ CO2 emissions

    Today’s vote by MEPs to introduce distance-based road tolls for trucks will mean vehicles will pay for the CO2 emissions they emit, incentivising cleaner trucking, green NGO Transport & Environment has said. By 2026 drivers would no longer be able to pay by duration – per day, week, month, etc – to drive unlimited distances, and would instead pay per km, according to the European Parliament transport committee’s revision of the Eurovignette Directive.

    MEPs backed truck charges differentiated by the vehicle’s CO2 emissions, so that dirtier trucks pay more per km. This is complemented by a discount for zero-emission vehicles of 50% on what the lowest-emitting diesel truck on the road pays. The transport committee’s proposal will now go to trilogue negotiations between the Parliament, EU governments and the European Commission.

    Samuel Kenny, freight policy officer at T&E, said: “Distance-based charging makes road transport more efficient, encourages the uptake of cleaner vehicles, and better manages road use. Today’s vote saw political parties coming together in a joint effort to make road transport cleaner in Europe. If the cross-party position is supported by governments, tolls would play a bigger role than today in encouraging efficient transport behaviour and accelerating the amount of cleaner vehicles on the road.”

    Today’s proposal would also see EU member states determine how much to charge trucks for the vehicle’s air pollution and noise, with minimum charges set down in EU law. Currently there are caps on how much countries can charge. Charging for air pollution and noise would be mandatory from 2021.

    From 2020 vans used for freight transport would also face tolls under the same system as trucks. T&E said this goes some way towards fixing the legislative gap between vans and trucks. MEPs also voted to end the introduction of time-based charges for cars.

    Samuel Kenny concluded: “It’s now up to the Council to make the next move. The law as it exists today makes it illegal for a country to even base tolls on CO2 emissions. Transport is now the EU’s biggest climate problem, responsible for 27% of the bloc’s greenhouse gases. Smart tolling has a clear role to play in reducing these emissions. Governments must act to make this possible.”