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Key European Parliament committee rejects extending Emissions Trading System to road
EU | Brussels

Key European Parliament committee rejects extending Emissions Trading System to road

3 May 2022 · Prosperity

The European Parliament’s TRAN (Transport and Tourism) Committee has voted against extending the Emission Trading System (ETS) to road transport and buildings.

IRU has welcomed the TRAN Committee’s criticism of the European Commission’s proposal to extend the ETS to road transport.  

Whilst IRU considers that a well-structured ETS for road could support decarbonisation, we agree with TRAN’s analysis that the European Commission’s proposed text lacks vision and pragmatism. We also agree that the Commission’s impact assessment on ETS is too vague regarding the overall cost effect on the commercial road transport sector.

IRU has suggested crucial changes to EU legislators in order to enable the proposal to achieve its goals. Most notably these include the need for a gradual introduction of the ETS, aligned with technology and charging infrastructure developments; the avoidance of multiple taxation/charging for CO2 emissions; and the reinvestment of revenues earned from ETS for road back into the road transport sector.  

Despite our industry’s constructive approach, the political debate has become hostile to the road transport sector. However, our sector is concerned about the real risk of an increased cost base. Transport operators will be penalised if the basic conditions needed to shift to alternative-fuelled vehicles are not in place: zero-emission vehicles are available and affordable in sufficient numbers, and a dense EU network of alternative fuels infrastructure is in place. 

“There are over one million commercial road transport companies in the EU, 80% of which are SMEs,” says IRU’s EU Advocacy Director Raluca Marian. “They drive about 35 million commercial vehicles, seven million of which are heavy-duty vehicles. 

“Even based on the most optimistic forecasts from manufacturers, the production of zero-emission HDVs will not grow fast enough to justify the (almost) immediate enormous taxes and charges that would affect millions of commercial vehicles on the EU’s roads. And without any proceeds from the system being returned to help decarbonisation investments in the sector,” she added.

Given the disappointing direction of the political debate, IRU appreciates the TRAN Committee’s vote to delete the extension of the ETS to road transport. The ongoing surge in fuel prices has added a very heavy burden on road transport, and its users, which makes our sector more than ever adverse to “just another increase”. 

IRU urges the European Parliament’s ENVI (Environment, Public Health and Food Safety) Committee, which is the leading committee on this matter, to follow TRAN’s pragmatic vote in its upcoming meeting on this file.