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Truck CO2 standards will drive decarbonisation but must remain realistic
Europe | Brussels

Truck CO2 standards will drive decarbonisation but must remain realistic

18 Oct 2018

The commercial road transport industry welcomes CO2 reduction targets to help drive fuel consumption savings. The debate around CO2 emissions reductions targets is timely as they will be instrumental in bringing more fuel efficient trucks to the market for transport operators. However, IRU is concerned that the 2030 target of 35% adopted today by the European Parliament ENVI Committee is unrealistic when only considering tailpipe emissions. The target 2030 should be set during the 2022 revision when more information is available. 

Matthias Maedge, who leads IRU’s work in the EU, commented: “Based on current technology projection, meeting a 35% reduction will require a shift to electrification, which will not be market ready for long-haul operations. Therefore, meeting such a target could see a shift of investment to smaller and less efficient vehicles, ultimately creating greater congestion and hence more CO2 emissions”. The same risk is inherent with a zero-emission vehicle benchmark and IRU warns that any such system will only impact distribution vehicles. Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) remains a key alternative for heavy goods vehicles to reach the decarbonisation objective. 

IRU has also called on the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to change the methodology towards a well-to-wheel approach and welcomes the adopted amendment of pushing towards a lifecycle analysis approach in the long-term. The current tailpipe focus does not recognise the role of advanced biofuels, including biomethane, and synthetic fuels (e-fuels), which are important cost-effective measures to help decarbonise road transport. 

Leading up to the plenary vote in November and for the ongoing debate in the Council, IRU calls on MEPs and Member States to put science ahead of politics and to consider business realities. Standards must ultimately be based on technological feasibility but also on commercial viability.