Last reviewed 13 November 2023

EU Member State Environment Ministers have backed CO2 targets for trucks proposed by the EU Commission which means that manufacturers will have to cut the average emissions of new freight vehicles by 45% in 2030, 65% in 2035 and 90% in 2040.

However, as we reported in May (see US is leaving Europe behind when it comes to clean trucks), the United States is moving towards its pollution targets more quickly and campaigning group Transport & Environment (T&E) has called on the European Parliament to increase the 2030 target so that European truck-makers are ready to compete with foreign rivals.

T&E freight manager, Fedor Unterlohner, said: “By supporting the Commission’s targets, governments have set the minimum standard for the sector to decarbonise. We now call on MEPs to increase the 2030 standard. Truck-makers need a clear signal to go all in on zero-emission trucks and compete with Tesla and Chinese rivals.”

T&E welcomed the Ministers’ rejection of loopholes for e-fuels and biofuels, which cannot decarbonise the sector as they are either unsustainable or needed for sectors with no other options such as aviation and shipping.

The green group said that, for hauliers and shippers, using e-fuels would increase the total cost of owning a truck by as much as 50%, even when produced in the most optimistic conditions.

“We call on the European Parliament to join the Council in saying no to these Frankenstein fuels which are a desperate attempt by the oil majors to keep combustion engines alive,” Mr Unterlohner said.

T&E criticised the Environment Ministers’ decision to exempt from the targets some types of heavy-duty vehicles such as garbage trucks, construction trucks and small trucks driving in cities. It called on MEPs to tighten the exemption which, in its current form, would lead to about 20% of heavy-duty vehicle sales escaping climate targets.