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EU sets targets for cutting emissions from trucks, buses

Tue 19 February 2019 | Back to news list | More bus news

The European Union has agreed targets to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide emissions from new trucks by 30 percent by a 2030 deadline as part of its commitment to tackle climate change. The proposals also set a 2025 target for truck emissions to be 15% below 2019 levels and the 2030 target is subject to a review in 2022. Earlier this month, the EU also set targets for the procurement of 'clean' buses, trucks and other vehicles procured by public authorities.

The CO2-reduction targets for trucks are the first binding regulations to be imposed at EU level. The United States, China, Japan and Canada already have targets.

Trucks account for about a quarter of the EU’s transport-related CO2 emissions and around 6% of  the EU's total emissions.

The European Commission says that the measures will mean that around 54 million tonnes of CO2 emissions will be saved in the period 2020 to 2030 – equivalent to the total annual emissions of Sweden. Due to better fuel efficiency, operators will make savings at the pump of around €25 000 in the first 5 years of use for a new lorry bought in 2025 and up to about €55 000 in the first 5 years of use for a new lorry bought in 2030.

Overall, oil demand will be reduced by up to 170 million tonnes of oil over the period 2020 to 2040 – worth around €95 billion at today's prices. GDP increases as a result of these savings, leading to the creation of around 25 000 new jobs in 2025.

The Regulation now has to be formally approved by the European Parliament and the Council. 

EU policy makers have also struck an agreement on public procurement rules for new buses, requiring local authorities to purchase a minimum share of 'clean'  vehicles running on gas or electricity by 2025 and 2030.

At least a quarter of new buses purchased by public authorities in cities across Europe will have to be 'clean' by 2025, and at least a third by 2030, according to the agreement. More than 75% of buses in Europe are now publicly procured, and these purchases and leases will be subject to nationwide binding targets based on the fuels the vehicles run on, in the cases of buses and trucks, and their emissions in the cases of cars and vans.

Between 24% and 45% of new public buses – depending on the EU country’s population and GDP – must be clean, under the revised Clean Vehicles Directive. In 2030 between 33% and 66% of publicly procured buses must meet the standard.

Half of these targets will have to be achieved by procuring zero-emission buses, which means that in Germany and Sweden, for example, almost a quarter of new public buses should be zero emissions by 2025. Romania and others will see more gradual growth: almost a fifth of new public buses should be zero emissions by 2030.

A spokesperson from Brussels-based NGO T&E said: "Thanks to this law, we should start to see many more electric buses being rolled out on Europe’s roads. But this directive is the bare minimum and a much faster uptake is needed. For citizens, that means cleaner air, less noise and more comfortable bus journeys. For EU busmakers, such as Solaris and VDL, it brings new market opportunities."

T&E criticised the decision to allow the other half of the targets to be met with so-called ‘clean’ buses, which are powered by the fuels permitted under the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive. Such buses can be powered by fossil fuels such as liquified and compressed natural gas.

The UK Government recently announced that it will fund orders for 263 new zero-emission buses orders, adding to the 329 already in use. 19 bus operators will shift to electric with the largest roll-outs set for London (63), Cardiff (36), and Manchester (32).

The deals for trucks and buses follow the agreement reached in December on new CO2 emission standards for cars and light vans in the EU for the period after 2020 (link).

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