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Reducing CO2 emissions from very heavy vehicles

Reducing CO2 emissions from very heavy vehicles

Road transport emissions have been rising and must be curbed if the EU is to meet its climate change targets and move to a low carbon economy. While emissions from cars and vans have already been addressed by EU laws and, as a result, have started to decline, CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) have not yet been regulated in the EU although they represent about 25 % of road transport emissions.

ACT

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament: Strategy for reducing heavy-duty vehicles' fuel consumption and CO2 emissions (COM(2014) 285 final of 21.5.2014).

SUMMARY

Road transport emissions have been rising and must be curbed if the EU is to meet its climate change targets and move to a low carbon economy. While emissions from cars and vans have already been addressed by EU laws and, as a result, have started to decline, CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) have not yet been regulated in the EU although they represent about 25 % of road transport emissions.

WHAT DOES THE COMMUNICATION DO?

It sets out a strategy to reduce the fuel consumption of HDVs and their CO2 emissions in the most cost-efficient way. It indicates possible regulatory developments so the industry can invest and plan its future accordingly.

KEY POINTS

The communication identifies various ways to meet its twin objectives:

using state-of-the-art technology to make engines and vehicles more environmentally efficient and developing alternative fuels infrastructure (where vehicles can recharge or refuel);

tackling the current knowledge gap on HDV CO2 emissions by accurately measuring and reporting these emissions. This can be done with the support of a computer simulation tool, ‘VECTO’, currently under development, to measure HDV CO2 emissions. It will facilitate greater transparency in the market and comparability between different vehicles to stimulate competition between manufacturers and awareness among consumers;

considering medium-term policy options such as mandatory CO2 emissions for newly registered HDVs, modern infrastructure supporting alternative fuels, smarter pricing of infrastructure usage (pricing infrastructure use on ‘polluter-pays’ (those who pollute while using the infrastructure pay) and ‘user-pays’ (those who use the infrastructure pay) principles), effective and coherent use of vehicle taxation by EU countries and other market-based mechanisms.

The communication points out that European HDV manufacturers are world leaders, with over 40 % of the global market. By reducing fuel consumption costs, both transport operators and their customers will benefit. More technologically advanced vehicles will improve the sector's competitiveness.

BACKGROUND

HDV goods transport has grown steadily over the past 2 decades. Between 1990 and 2010, its CO2 emissions have increased by about 36 %. While these are likely to remain stable over the next 30 years, they must be reduced in order to meet the target of cutting the transport sector's greenhouse gas emissions by 60 % by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.

For more information, see the European Commission's ’Reducing CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles’ webpage.

RELATED ACT

Directive 2014/94/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure (Official Journal L 307, 28.10.2014, pp. 1-20).

Last updated: 19.03.2015

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