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EU environment committee backs mixed deal on heavy vehicle CO₂ standards
EU | Brussels

EU environment committee backs mixed deal on heavy vehicle CO₂ standards

14 Feb 2024 · Environment

IRU takes stock of today’s vote in the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) on CO2 emission standards for new heavy-duty vehicles. It is a mixed bag for the commercial road transport sector.

The European Parliament’s Environmental Committee has approved the provisional agreement on CO2 standards for new heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) reached by the Council, European Commission and European Parliament last month. 

As IRU noted last month, the deal maintains the overly idealistic CO2 emission reduction targets proposed by the Commission for trucks and coaches: a 45% reduction target for manufacturers by 2030, escalating to 65% as of 2035, before jumping to 90% starting 2040. 

IRU EU Advocacy Director Raluca Marian said, “The compromise text endorsed today by the Parliament’s ENVI committee remains disappointing. In the short and medium term, there are no clear signs that the infrastructure required for such targets will be ready for large scale deployment in urban areas and on the EU’s major road networks. 

“The CO2 emission reduction targets remain detached from available energy supply and business realities.” 

Mandatory purchasing targets 

On a positive note, as recently called for by IRU, the European Parliament’s proposal to impose mandatory purchasing targets for zero-emission HDVs on large fleet operators does not feature in the final compromise text. 

Instead, the Commission has been tasked to report on the potential need and impact of initiatives to increase the share of zero-emission HDVs, including increasing the deployment of zero-emission HDVs owned or leased by large fleet operators. 

“Our message was heard by EU Member States. There are less interventionist ways in which the demand for zero-emission vehicles can be supported, such as financial incentives for the uptake of new technologies and by creating the enabling conditions, including the infrastructure, to run such vehicles. 

“We look forward to realistic and helpful recommendations for our sector in the Commission’s report, due in June 2027,” added Raluca Marian. 

CO2 neutral fuels

Another positive development took place last week. EU ambassadors endorsed the provisional agreement on new CO2 standards for HDVs, but not before improving the law by including a request for the Commission to assess the role of a methodology to register HDVs running exclusively on CO2 neutral fuels. 

“While this new provision is non-binding, it is welcomed by our sector. We have been calling for greater technology neutrality and the recognition of a wide range of alternative fuels to ensure a rapid decarbonisation of the road transport sector,” concluded Raluca Marian. 

Next steps

A formal vote by EU Ministers of Environment will take place towards the end of March. A full European Parliament vote is scheduled for late April.