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  • Ministers’ first step towards truck CO2 targets doesn’t go far enough

    EU environment ministers today called for truck CO2 emissions to be reduced by 15% in 2025 and 30% in 2030, compared to 2019 levels. The European NGO federation Transport & Environment (T&E) said the decision is an important step in agreeing the EU’s first-ever CO2 reduction targets as soon as possible, but warned that the ministers’ ambition falls far short of what’s required to meet Europe’s 2030 climate targets and help hauliers reduce CO2 emissions and fuel costs.

    Ministers also supported a supercredit mechanism – whereby sales of zero-emission trucks are counted double towards meeting the CO2 target – until 2024 but agreed to replace it with a sales benchmark for zero and low-emission trucks from 2025. T&E welcomes that supercredits will be deleted because they are an accounting trick that will lead to higher CO2 emissions and fewer zero-emission trucks, just as they failed for cars. The sales target is also supported by big businesses including IKEA, Unilever, Carrefour and Nestlé, as well as logistics companies and hauliers, because it will expand the supply and bring down costs of these vehicles.

    Stef Cornelis, cleaner trucks officer at T&E, said: “Fuel economy targets for trucks will save truckers money at the pump, help clean up the air in our cities, slash carbon emissions and cut our dependence on imported oil. But the Council position just adopted doesn’t go fast enough in shifting away from fossil fuels and doesn’t go far enough in helping Europe meeting its climate targets.”

    In November the European Parliament voted for a 20% reduction in truck CO2 in 2025, which will deliver an additional €14,000 in fuel savings per new truck in its first five years compared to the Council’s proposed 15% reduction. Parliament also supported, at least, a 35% reduction in 2030 – though even this falls short of the EU’s 2030 climate targets.

    Stef Cornelis concluded: “The upcoming Presidency should now move towards the European Parliament position and adopt higher CO2 targets and sales targets for zero-emission trucks. It will help the logistics sector to become more sustainable and competitive. That’s exactly what EU regulation should do” 

    T&E welcomes that the sales benchmark will also take into account the freight activity of different low and zero-emission trucks. Already 40% of hauliers say they may want to buy one or a few electric or hybrid-electric trucks in their next purchase, according to automotive consultant Bain & Company, which surveyed 553 haulage companies in France, the UK, Poland and Germany.