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Greening road transport: IRU members adopt key positions
EU | Brussels

Greening road transport: IRU members adopt key positions

15 Mar 2023 · Environment

Coming together for their biannual meetings, IRU’s EU passenger and goods transport members have adopted key sector positions aimed at reducing pollutant emissions and decarbonising corporate fleets.

The European Commission’s proposal on Euro 7 emission standards is on the to-do list of EU legislators.

While the legislative process started just recently, IRU is now keen to convey to the European Parliament and the Council a clear message: we welcome the open-technology approach of the draft regulation on Euro 7 emission standards.

Reducing pollutant emissions: Euro 7 norms

Euro 7 aims to improve the performance of all available technologies, recognising that each vehicle propulsion system has an important role to play in the future.

At the same time, the road transport sector remains concerned about drawing the right balance between the additional environmental gains and the potential increase in vehicle prices, and calls for both proportionality and a realistic Euro 7 start date.

IRU EU Advocacy Director Raluca Marian said, “Euro 7 cannot be looked at in isolation. The sector is expecting that the related CO₂ standards factor in all technology options that are able to provide carbon neutrality. 

“These options include battery electric and hydrogen vehicles as well as combustion engines based on carbon-neutral fuels.

“In parallel to decarbonising road goods and passenger transport, we acknowledge that it is necessary to further reduce pollutant emission levels and increase component durability while keeping costs proportionate to benefits.”

“We also need a realistic start date for Euro 7. A premature introduction, as proposed by the Commission, would be counterproductive,” she added.

Greening of corporate fleets

The European Commission’s working programme for 2023 anticipates an initiative on the greening of corporate fleets. While most of the elements of such an initiative are still unknown, IRU’s position straddles the boundaries of EU and state intervention in the renewal of private fleets.

“Our sector is committed to decarbonising. We need clean vehicles to be available in sufficient numbers, clean fuels, infrastructure to refuel and recharge them, as well as subsidies and incentives to afford an expensive transition,” said Raluca Marian.

“What we don’t need are unreasonable demands on private operators who are working with private capital and are solely responsible for their operations' risks. Hence, private road operators strongly reject any initiative or attempt to impose an obligatory purchasing mandate for any type of vehicle, including zero-emission vehicles. There must be a limit to economic interventionism, and that should be the boundaries of the right to property and freedom to conduct business,” concluded Raluca Marian.

IRU’s position calls for an EU initiative which encourages member states to provide more incentives, financial or otherwise, as well as the uptake of clean vehicles, including the use of conversion systems for existing fleets.