Although EU Member States are not currently allowed to base road tolls on a truck’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, it seemed likely that this position would change when the European Commission proposed differentiated charges to encourage cleaner, more efficient heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).

However, that was in June 2017 and the Member States have still not reached a common position in the Council that would allow negotiations with the European Parliament to begin to this proposed legislation.

Parliament itself is fully behind the proposal and has suggested changes that would, according to green campaigning group Transport & Environment (T&E), make the proposed legislation even more environmentally friendly.

Freight manager at T&E, James Nix, said: “It delays yet again the start of the Green Deal for trucking. Governments missed the chance to increase investment certainty for truck-makers investing in fuel efficiency and zero-emissions technologies, and for hauliers buying cleaner trucks.”

The Commission proposal is to amend Directive 1999/62/EC on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures (the Eurovignette Directive) which allows countries to charge hauliers for using their transport infrastructure, including roads, bridges and tunnels.

It will next come up for discussion when the EU Transport Ministers meet in September, after Germany has taken over the rotating s-x-month presidency of the Union.

As Europe’s largest truck market, Mr Nix said, Germany has a great responsibility to drive this proposal forward under its presidency.

One suggestion that is expected to be considered at the September meeting is for toll exemptions to be allowed for zero emission trucks — electric and hydrogen — until 2026.

Last reviewed 29 June 2020