CO2 emissions for trucks: Fight against climate change

For the first time ever, the EU is capping CO2 emissions from trucks. As of 2030, trucks and heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) will have to significantly improve their green footprint.

Currently, trucks and HDVs are responsible for a quarter of total road transport CO2 emissions, or 6% of the total EU CO2 emissions.

For the EPP Group, capping emissions for trucks and HDVs was essential if we were to meet the EU reduction target of 40% until 2030 and fulfil Europe’s commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement.

With the emissions cap, we are also delivering on the concerns of Europeans. Reducing CO2 emissions from vehicles will reduce air pollution and contribute to better health. Additionally, lower CO2 emissions also mean fuel savings and consequentially lower cost of driving.

Ambitious and realistic targets

Setting ambitious, but realistic targets concerning the CO2 Regulation for trucks and HDVs has been one of the most important priorities for the EPP Group.

The new rules will ensure that from 2030 onwards, trucks and HDVs will emit on average 30% less CO2, whereas new HDVs sold in 2025 will be required to emit 15% less CO2 compared to 2019 levels.

Thanks to the EPP Group, emission targets adopted remain in an ambitious, but realistic frame. Too ambitious targets would not help the environment; they would rather destroy jobs and growth, and the technological leadership we achieved in Europe.

What else is in the agreement?

In May 2018, the EU proposed the draft law to cap CO2 emissions in trucks and HDVs to deal with rising pollution and as a contribution to fighting climate change.

The EPP Group believes that the targets agreed on between the European Institutions will give the HDV sector the right incentive to introduce more fuel-efficient trucks and to put low (LEV) or even zero-emissions vehicles (ZLEVs) on the market. Simply put, when selling LEVs or ZLEVs, a manufacturer will get so-called super credit, which counts multiple times towards achieving the manufacturer-specific CO2 target.

The agreement says that if a manufacturer meets certain objectives (benchmarks), it will be rewarded with less strict CO2 targets.

In order for a manufacturer to benefit from ZLEV credits, its share of ZLEVs and LEVs in total sales of new HDVs will need to be at least 2%.

The EPP Group is supportive of this incentive mechanism in the form of super credits. We believe it is necessary to reward HDV manufacturers for developing and offering alternatively powered vehicles in a market that is dominated by 96% by diesel today.

Another thing agreed on between the legislators are penalties. In the case of exceeding the manufacturer-specific CO2 target, a truck-maker would have to pay a penalty, the so-called ‘excess emission premium’.

The amount of this penalty has been set at €4250 for 2025-2029. The fine from 2030 onwards is €6800/gCO2/tkm, equivalent to €570 per gram of CO2/km.

Since the EPP Group believes that CO2 emission targets for trucks and HDVs have been set ambitiously but realistically, the Group is in favour of the principle of paying penalties in cases of excess CO2 emissions.

Way forward

Even without the current legislation, trucks developed and manufactured in the European Union today are some of the cleanest and most fuel-efficient in the world.

For the EPP Group, it was therefore essential to make sure that now, with a dedicated piece of legislation addressing CO2 emissions for HDVs in place, the manufacturers will have time to adapt as the transition to a low carbon economy evolves.

We believe in the success of ambitious but realistic CO2 targets which are in line with what is technologically possible and economically viable. The new law needs to allow space for innovation to thrive.

Related Working Group

Economy, jobs & the environment