EU proposal could see diesel trucks still on the road after 2050

New EU proposals have been criticised by Transport & Environment, one of Europe’s leading clean transport campaign groups, for ‘dodging the deadlines’ of polluting trucks.

The proposal suggests phasing in tighter CO2 emissions standards for new Heavy Duty Vehicles, aiming for (compared to 2019/2020 levels):

45% emissions reductions from 2030

65% emission reductions from 2035

90% emissions reduction from 2040

Transport & Environment point out that the EU’s 2030 target is actually behind what most truck manufacturers are already aiming for and suggest instead a 65% cut, equivalent to the targets already announced by Daimler and Volvo.

With the except of the Covid-stricken 2020, emissions from heavy duty vehicles have been increasing year-on-year since 2014, mainly due to increased demand for road transport which is predicted to continue unabated.

Fedor Unterlohner, freight manager at T&E, said: ‘The failure to set a deadline for polluting trucks is a craven concession to truck manufacturers. By 2035 virtually all new electric lorries will be cheaper to run than diesels while driving as far and carrying as much. But without a clear EU deadline, diesel trucks will pollute our lungs and the planet for years longer than necessary.

‘Ambitious EU climate rules are driving the electrification of cars and are badly needed for trucks. Without more stringent targets from 2030, there will be a glut of polluting diesel lorries still on our roads for decades to come.’

The EU proposals suggest that all new city buses be zero-emission as of 2030, prompting T&E to say: ‘an earlier deadline of 2027 was needed to ensure vehicle-makers keep up with the demand from cities for clean buses.’

Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal was more upbeat: ‘To reach our climate and zero pollution goals all parts of the transport sector have to actively contribute. In 2050, nearly all of the vehicles on our roads have to be zero-emission. Our Climate Law requires it, our cities demand it, and our manufacturers are gearing up for it. With today’s proposal, we are making sure that new trucks are becoming less polluting and that more buses with zero emissions will ride through our cities. Fighting the climate crisis, enhancing the quality of life of our citizens, and boosting Europe’s industrial competitiveness go hand-in-hand.’

By contrast, at COP26 the UK Government pledged that all new HGVs sold in the UK will be zero emission by 2040.

Image: Mauro Bottaro


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1 year ago

Good job we’re not in the EU then? UK can do better – in this instance. But will we follow through?

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