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EU Countries Sign Off on Law to Slash Trucks’ CO2 Emissions

EU Countries Sign Off on Law to Slash Trucks’ CO2 Emissions

CO2 Emissions
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The Council formally adopted the regulation on CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles, amending and strengthening the existing EU rules. The updated rules will further reduce CO2 emissions from road transport and will introduce new targets for 2030, 2035 and 2040. 

More robust standards for CO2 emissions will help increase the share of zero-emission vehicles in the heavy-duty vehicle fleet across the EU, while ensuring that innovation in and the competitiveness of the sector are preserved and enhanced.

Broader scope

Under the revised rules, the scope of the existing regulation will be expanded to make almost all new heavy-duty vehicles with certified CO2 emissions – including smaller trucks, urban buses, coaches and trailers – subject to emission reduction targets.

New emission reduction targets

The new rules maintain the existing 2025 target currently set at a 15% emissions reduction for heavy lorries weighing over 16t. In line with the EU’s climate objectives for 2030 and beyond, the regulation further establishes the following new targets:

  • a 45% emissions reduction from 2030 (increased from 30%)
  • a 65% emissions reduction from 2035
  • a 90% emissions reduction from 2040

These targets will apply to medium lorries, heavy trucks weighing over 7.5t and coaches, as well as to corresponding vocational vehicles from 2035 onwards.

Zero-emission target for urban buses

The new rules introduce a 100% zero-emission target for new urban buses by 2035, with an intermediate target of 90% for this category by 2030. Inter-urban buses will be exempt from this target, as they will be regarded as coaches for the purposes of measuring emissions reduction.

Next steps

The regulation will now be signed and published in the Official Journal of the EU. It will enter into force 20 days after its publication.

The effectiveness and impact of the amended regulation will be reviewed by the Commission in 2027

Among other things, the Commission will also have to evaluate the possibility of developing a common methodology for the assessment and reporting of the full lifecycle CO2 emissions of new heavy-duty vehicles.

Background

The heavy-duty vehicle sector is responsible for over 25% of greenhouse gas emissions from road transport in the EU. CO2 emission standards for certain heavy-duty vehicles were set for the first time in 2019, with targets for 2025 to 2029 and for 2030 onwards, with provision for a review of the regulation by 2022.

Related Article: 80% of Global CO2 emissions can be traced to just 57 producers, report says

On 14 February 2023, the Commission submitted a proposal for a revision of the COemission standards for heavy-duty vehicles. This revision is an integral part of the Fit for 55 legislative package. The updated rules contribute to the EU’s aim of reducing its net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, and to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

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