MEPs to vote on deeper truck CO2 cuts sought by green groups, business and transport sector

MEPs will have the opportunity to ramp up the ambition of the EU’s first ever truck CO2 standards this week – a move sought by environmental groups and businesses alike. Tomorrow (14 November) the European Parliament votes on its environment committee’s proposal for a 20% reduction in truck CO2 emissions in 2025, and at least 35% in 2030. If carried the vote will send a strong signal to EU governments that the law needs to be more ambitious than that proposed by the European Commission.

Last month major companies such as Carrefour, Nestlé, Unilever, Tchibo and Spar Austria came out in favour of the 20% reduction target. T&E said such increased ambition in emissions reduction targets, and a zero-emission truck sales target with teeth, would be a very positive decision that will cut climate emissions, make air in cities cleaner and slash fuel bills for businesses.

The higher ambition proposed for the 2025 target would deliver an additional €14,000 in fuel savings per new truck in its first five years compared to the Commission’s proposed 15% reduction. Truckmakers would also have to meet a target for zero-emission trucks of 5% of sales in 2025. Crucially, those manufacturers falling short of the target would need to achieve higher fuel efficiency on the diesel trucks they sell, the MEPs in the environment committee said, while those exceeding it would have less stringent CO2 reduction targets.

T&E’s cleaner trucks officer, Stef Cornelis, said: ‘MEPs have the chance to bring us closer to what’s needed to hit the EU’s own climate goals and deliver the fuel savings demanded by hauliers and businesses such as Nestlé, Heineken, DB Schenker and IKEA. The sales target will ensure that a market for zero-emission trucks develops, enabling companies to meet their commitments to clean deliveries in cities by 2025.’

Bart Vandewaetere, head of corporate communications and government relations for Nestlé zone Europe, Middle East and North Africa, said: ‘We welcome this vote of the environment committee setting up ambitious targets for truck CO2 emissions. Since 2014, we have already reduced CO2 emissions within our European transport operations by 15% per tonne of product. Having more fuel-efficient trucks will help us to further accelerate our reduction in CO2 emissions across transport and distribution. This is going in the direction we want to take as a business to have close to zero environmental impact by 2030.’

MEPs will also vote on the EU adopting an annual testing scheme and on-road tests of vehicles while they are in use. These will check the fuel efficiency data provided by truckmakers – to ensure they don't cheat in testing procedures.

Stef Cornelis concluded: ‘On-road tests will deliver transparency and ensure greater competition among manufacturers. Hauliers will also get a true picture of how efficient the trucks they buy are. The parliament should back this progressive step and send a very clear signal to national environment ministers on what’s needed to cut CO2 emissions from trucks, reduce oil imports, and cut costs for business.’

Trucks are not yet subject to fuel efficiency standards – even though they account for 22% of vehicle emissions while making up less than 5% of the vehicles on the road. Meanwhile, European hauliers spend on average €32,000 a year per truck on fuel. While the US, Japan, China and Canada have CO2 limits in place, the fuel efficiency of trucks in Europe improved little for the past 20 years while all EU truckmakers engaged in a price fixing cartel.