Governments’ ambition on truck CO2 falls short

Truck CO2 emissions should be reduced by 15% in 2025 and 30% in 2030, compared to 2019 levels, EU environment ministers have said. They agreed their joint position on the EU’s first ever truck CO2 reduction targets this week and will enter negotiations with the European Parliament and Commission in early 2019.

While T&E welcomed the decision as an important step to finalise the regulation as soon as possible, it 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.

Key truck manufacturing nations such us France, Sweden and the Netherlands were among the majority that called for greater ambition and incentives for zero and low-emission trucks. However, they accepted the compromise to avoid a blocking minority led by Germany.

Ministers also want a supercredit mechanism – under which sales of zero-emission trucks would be counted double towards meeting the CO2 target – until 2024 but have agreed to replace it with a sales benchmark for zero and low-emission trucks from 2025. T&E said supercredits are an accounting trick that will lead to higher CO2 emissions and fewer zero-emission trucks – just as they failed for cars – and welcomed their deletion from 2025.

Earlier this year, big businesses including IKEA, Unilever, Carrefour and Nestlé, as well as logistics companies and hauliers, called for a sales target as it will expand the supply of new technology and bring down the cost of these vehicles.

T&E’s cleaner trucks officer, Stef Cornelis, 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.’

MEPs have already stated their support 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. MEPs also want, 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.’