Europe’s Policymakers Lag Behind Truckmakers on CO2 Emissions

Originally published on Transport & Miljø.

EU politicians lag behind truck manufacturers when it comes to CO2 emissions, a new study shows. Improvements in aerodynamics and fuel efficiency as well as flexibility in the rules mean that trucks can already reach the EU’s CO2 reduction target by 2025, while producing only a few zero-emission vehicles. T&E says the EU needs to raise targets to increase production of zero-emission trucks over the decade to ensure that industry decarbonises on time.

Lucien Mathieu, acting freight director at T&E, said: “Truckmakers go green faster than decision makers, which is absurd. However, this is not the case with the free market doing its job, but rather with politicians not doing theirs. Truck makers are clearly able to cool down faster. It’s time to make them. ”

The Swedish truck manufacturer Scania leads in terms of CO2 emissions from new trucks with emissions 5.3% lower than the average for the most common type of long-distance vehicle. Scania’s better emissions performance is primarily down to aerodynamics, which it has achieved without producing any zero-emission trucks. Laggard’s Renault and IVECO, on the other hand, have the highest emissions: 2.6% and 2.4% above the long-distance average, respectively.

If all of Europe’s trucks performed as well as the most efficient models on the market, it would reduce the average CO2 emissions of trucks by 6% today, the study shows. But efficiency gains alone will not bring Europe’s truck sector to zero, warns T&E.

Lucien Mathieu added: “Top-class trucks can deliver emission reductions today, but efficiency only reaches you that far. Europe needs to drastically increase the number of zero-emission trucks on its roads in the coming years to have any chance of decarbonizing the sector on time. However, the current CO2 targets for trucks do not encourage truck manufacturers to produce them. We need to screw up the goals over the course of the decade. ”

Most truck manufacturers have voluntarily committed to electricity sales that go beyond what the EU requires. According to their public announcements, these voluntary commitments would lead the market to around 7% zero-emission vehicles in 2025 and 43% in 2030, higher than the 2% needed in 2025 to achieve existing voluntary targets. These voluntary announcements show that the EU can set a realistic-but-more ambitious target of at least 30% zero-emission trucks by 2028, says T&E.

Average CO2 emissions for new long-distance cars were higher in larger Western European countries such as France, Germany and the United Kingdom, while smaller countries such as Bulgaria, Estonia, Portugal and Slovakia performed significantly better. Poland’s long-distance car emissions, for example, are 3.5% below the EU average, while Germany’s are 2.2% above.

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