Counting Carbon

EU seeking emission reductions for heavy trucks, buses

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Pardon my noxious fumes. Source: Reuters

The European Commission is proposing a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions for heavy trucks and buses that is almost double what the industry considers realistic. The proposal due on Thursday calls for CO2 emissions from heavy commercial vehicles to be at least 30 percent below 2019 levels by 2030.

The European industry lobby group ACEA claimed that a 16-percent reduction by that date would be realistic. Even the EU’s interim target – a 15-percent reduction by 2025 – is problematic: the industry proposed 7 percent. The commission backed its reduction goals, saying its targets were achievable with software that is already available on the market.

According to the European Environment Agency, greenhouse gas emissions from heavy trucks have risen by a quarter since 1990. Brussels officials warn they could grow another 10 percent by 2030 without official intervention. The 7 million trucks currently on the road account for a fifth of carbon dioxide emissions in the EU.

While the EU has long had emission standards for passenger cars, the diversity of heavy commercial vehicles has made it difficult to set similar limits for all of them. For a long time authorities relied on competition among truck makers to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. Then two years ago, it emerged that truck producers had been rigging prices over a period of years. This event quickly disabused them of that notion.

To track the targeted reduction, EU authorities have worked with the producers to develop a so-called VECTO device that measures fuel consumption and emissions. This will replace testing facilities, which are not practical for the diverse number of vehicles. Manufacturers will have to supply each vehicle’s consumption and emission values in order to receive certification for that vehicle type.

Till Hoppe is a Brussels correspondent for Handelsblatt. Darrell Delamaide adapted this article into English for Handelsblatt Global. To contact the author: hoppe@handelsblatt.com.

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