European policy lags behind truckmakers on CO2 emission

The European Union is failing to set adequate emission reduction targets for truckmakers, a new study shows. 

According to the study, which was published by the campaign group Transport & Environment (T&E), improvements in fuel efficiency mean trucks can already achieve the EU’s 2025 CO2 reduction target while producing just a few zero-emission vehicles. 

The study reveals that most truckmakers have made voluntary commitments for electric sales which go beyond what the EU requires. 

According to public announcements, these voluntary commitments would take the market to around 7% zero-emission vehicles in 2025 and 43% in 2030 – higher than the 2% needed in 2025 to meet existing voluntary targets.

These voluntary announcements show that the EU can set a realistic – but more ambitious – target of at least 30% zero-emission trucks by 2028, says T&E.

Average CO2 emissions for new long-haul trucks were higher in larger western European countries such as France, Germany and the United Kingdom, while smaller countries such as Bulgaria, Estonia, Portugal and Slovakia performed significantly better. Poland’s long-haul truck emissions, for example, are 3.5% below the EU average while Germany’s are 2.2% above.

blue and white truck on road during daytime

Lucien Mathieu, acting freight director at T&E, said: ‘Truckmakers are going green quicker than policymakers, which is absurd. However, this is not the case of the free-market doing its job, but rather policymakers failing to do theirs. Truckmakers are clearly able to decarbonise quicker. It’s time to make them.

‘Best-in-class trucks can deliver emissions reduction today, but efficiency only gets you so far. Europe needs to drastically increase the number of zero-emission trucks on its roads in the coming years to have any chance of decarbonising the sector on time. But current truck CO2 targets fail to encourage truckmakers to produce them. We need to crank up the targets throughout the decade.’

The study highlights that Swedish truckmaker Scania is leading the way in terms of CO2 emissions, with new trucks being 5.3% lower in emissions than the most common type of long-haul truck. 

According to the study, if all of Europe’s trucks performed as well as the most efficient models on the market, it would reduce average truck CO2 emissions by 6%.

Photo by İsmail Enes Ayhan


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