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Truck CO2 emissions standards urgently needed.

Road congestion on the M6Given that trucks contribute around 22 per cent of UK’s road transport emissions, and that truck efficiency has not really improved significantly in the past decade, it is wrong that unlike cars and vans, there are no CO2 standards for trucks.

The latest research1 highlights that HGV CO2 efficiency across the EU has not improved in the last decade, so Campaign for Better Transport is urging MEPs and UK Ministers to get the Commission to prioritize regulating truck emissions in the 2016 decarbonisation strategy. We need proper measurement of CO2 emissions from HGVs as truck manufacturers, who are also being probed by the European Commission for operating a cartel in recent years, are not stepping up to the plate voluntarily.

Across the EU, trucks now account for 30% of road transport CO2 emissions which is forecast to increase to 40% by 2030. We believe that the EU will need to introduce truck CO2 standards as done in the US if it wants to reduce transport emissions.

In summary, reasons to have standards

  1. Targets to reduce transport CO2 emissions will not be reached without HGV standards
  2. Standards will reduce operating costs for road hauliers and protect the planet.
  3. The competition ie China, US, India and Japan are moving ahead with standards

In the UK, transport has to improve its act as all other sector reduced emissions in 2014 while transport’s share grew by 1.1%, which means that, transport's share of total CO2 emissions went up from 25-28%. And of that, HGVs contribution to transport CO2 emissions increased from around 20 to 22% even though it only makes up 5% of road vehicles.

Graphic showing '20 Years of Progress?'

Standards for cars and van are working; overall CO2 emissions from new cars sold in 2014 were 123.4g/km, a reduction of 2.6%. There is significant potential to improve HGV efficiency in the order of 30%, which would be very beneficial to hauliers and freight users.

Pressure has been building on the EU to act on truck fuel-efficiency standards since the US Environmental Protection Agency in June proposed a new 24% target for improvement in truck fuel economy by 2027 on top of limits introduced in 2011. 

Graphic showing 'Truck CO2 - Too Big to Ignore'

T&E estimates that lorries could be at least 35% more fuel efficient using existing technology without increasing operating costs for hauliers if a robust and transparent system for certifying truck CO2 emissions is introduced.

And there is a way forward as the European Commission is finalising its CO2 truck test procedure, VECTO. So please lobby the Commission and ministers to get behind this software which can be used to introduce standards for HGVs.

We acknowledge that calculating CO2 emissions is more complicated for trucks than cars or vans because of the issues around different weights and volume carried, unlike cars, which are measured empty, but that cannot be used as an excuse for doing nothing.

CO2 standards for HGVs is long over-due as truck manufacturers have failed to significantly improve truck efficiency over the past 20 years. It makes sense as it can help the UK Government meet its legally binding climate change targets as well as reducing operator costs.

For more details see Europe’s lost decade of truck fuel economy


1. Overview of the heavy-duty vehicle market and CO2 emissions in the European Union


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